Queen of the Falls
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This issue's cover illustration by Tony Ross is from Francesca Simon's Horrid Henry and the Zombie Vampire. Thanks to Orion Children's Books for their help with this September cover.
By clicking here you can view, print or download the fully artworked Digital Edition of BfK 190 September 2011.
This is the bizarre story of Annie Edson Taylor, the ‘short, plump and fussy sixty-two-year-old widow’ who resolves to find fame and fortune when her Charm School fails by being the first person to go over the thundering waters of Niagara Falls in a barrel. Not just any old barrel, but one she has helped make herself, four and a half feet high with iron bands around it, but big enough for herself and a large number of pillows. Amazingly she survives, but the hoped-for riches do not materialise. People are bemused by the unlikely heroine when the fearless ‘Queen of the Falls’ turns out to be a little old lady. Charlatans and petty crooks accompany her on her journey, but still success eludes her. In the end she must find satisfaction in the achievement itself. Caldecott Medal winner Chris van Allsburg, creator of The Polar Express, evokes the world of turn-of-the-century America with his soft sepia artworks. A most unlikely story, as surreal and strange as the photo of the real Annie Taylor included in the author’s end note.