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Subway Story

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  176 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
Never was there a subway car who loved her job more than Jessie. From morning to night she carried all sorts of people all sorts of places—to work and school and World's Fairs, over bridges and through tunnels—sometimes she even took a pigeon along for the ride! But as time passed, sleek new silver cars began to take over the tracks, banishing Jessie to an abandoned lot. W ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 11th 2011 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30)
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Adam Kesner
Nov 16, 2011 Adam Kesner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly engrossing, completely beautiful, a children's book that doesn't pander to kids (or their parents). This is a rare find, a book with a message so skillfully woven into the (true) story that you don't feel like you're being hammered with it, while still having a strong enough voice to never feel wishy-washy. A TOTALLY unbiased review, this book is a 5 out of 5.
Jessica Sheaffer
Feb 24, 2013 Jessica Sheaffer rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical-fic
Subway Story, received a “starred review” in The Horn Book Magazine in 2011. This charming picture book marries real events from historic New York with a sweet narrative about an animated train car that wants nothing more than to serve her urban community. In, Subway Story, Jessie, the train car makes her debut on the subway in New York City in the 1960’s. She goes through some transformations and repairs over the decades and finally, is put in retirement where she wonders what her fate will be. ...more
Jan 23, 2013 Maya rated it liked it
For me this is a 3.5. This story is based on the true life fate of some old subway cars that have been stripped to their "skeleton" and plunged to the bottom of the ocean to be a base for artificial reefs. Such a cool starting point for a story, I was a bit disappointed that this wasn't a little more exciting. The story itself actually has potential: a subway car who loves the city and carrying people from place to place, ends up finding happiness at the bottom of the ocean with an entire "city" ...more
Mar 21, 2017 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-kids
Not knowing the backstory of the plot before reading, I was wholly surprised by the events that occurred at the end....and then to find out that it's based on a true story?? Crazy! A very interesting book, and a fun read for the kids. The subway car is portrayed quite relatably and I love her underlying desire to help others.
Feb 27, 2017 Mark rated it really liked it
Interesting story of the life (and afterlife?) of a subway car. Includes resources at the back of the book.
Feb 07, 2012 Barbara rated it liked it
Jessie loves her job as a New York City subway car. She travels all across the city, carrying passengers and their possessions. But while Jessie is refurbished over the years, she eventually is considered obsolete and replaced by more modern cars. When she and some other cars are taken apart and put on a barge and towed out to sea, she knows it's the end. Instead, Jessie becames a haven for marine life. An Author's Note explains the story behind subway cars such as Jessie who provided transporta ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Dec 10, 2011 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it really liked it
Jessie is a subway car placed into service for the New York World’s Fair in the sixties. She loved her work carrying people back and forth across the city. She worked for many years, but, eventually, her lack of air conditioning and her worn seats resulted in her being decommissioned. Finally, Jessie was put to a new use, serving as the basis for rebuilding the reef in the ocean.

A gentle story of repurposing, of finding new uses for old things, for young children, told with lovely pictures. Remi
May 13, 2012 Lora rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
I love picture books that are based in fact and like to walk that line between nonfiction and fiction. I like them because they are a great way to teach children in an interesting and not so preachy way. That is exactly what this book does. We learn about subway cars from the 1960s, this story gives a name and personality to one car making it that much more meaningful to the reader. These subway cars were used until they were too old to repair. Then they were dropped into the ocean off the coast ...more
Sep 06, 2011 Tasha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Based on a true story, this picture book follows Jessie, a subway car, from her “birth” until her unusual ending. Jessie was a New York City subway car that carried people and things around the city. At first, she was new and shiny, but eventually she was covered in graffiti and then painted red. She kept on working, running on tracks around the city. Then she was used only in the winter because her fans could not keep up with the heat, and finally she wasn’t used any more. But Jessie’s travels ...more
Shanshad Whelan
Nov 28, 2011 Shanshad Whelan rated it really liked it
While this one isn't as lively a text as I might hope for . . . it's close to being a nonfiction history of a subway car, which was actually pretty fascinating in and of itself. Though I live in the city, I didn't know a lot of the details presented here. It's interesting to see how the trains changed over the years and to find out what's been happening to older model subway cars since. Reminds me of Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel in part, and nicely falls into the ranks of anthropomorphic v ...more
Scot Johnson
Nov 08, 2016 Scot Johnson rated it really liked it
By Julia Sarcone-Roach
A story about a subway car named Jessie. The story begins at Jessie's creation and how the subway car changed over the years as well as the evolution of other cars. Jessie works hard carrying all kinds of people and items until his time is up. What happens to Jessie after he is replaced?

This book shows some characteristics of historical fiction by chronicling the evolution of subway cars and the city around them. The situations, other than a living subway car, are plausible
Nov 06, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it
-love the endpapers-subway routes in front, underwater scene in back
-blue tones and light variation is nice, esp. when conveying mood
-people are plesantly indistinct
-pigeon scene: expression and lighting
-loved the sweep of repair scene, the arc across the page, depiction of time passing
-seasons and weather well done, too
-color and light again important in underwater scenes (one fish...)
-smudginess of reef is beautiful
-expressive "face" on subway car
-nice handling of "death"

Nov 14, 2011 Anna rated it did not like it
Are you kidding me? A sweet subway is born and happily carries people all over her beloved city. Times change, she changes, and then one day she is retired. Then she is mostly taken apart and put on a barge. Will she ever see her beloved city again? Then a crane pushes her off the barge and she sinks to the bottom of the ocean and forms a coral reef. As my six year old said at the end, "I don't like that book." I think the author must think that it is somehow sweet to become a coral reef. My kid ...more
Oct 26, 2011 Sandybear76 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I read this book and immediately gave it to the first grade teacher. Her class is doing community service by learning about recycling. The book tells the story of a subway car who carried tourists to the World Fair and then through the city of lots of years. As she gets older, she is stored till one day she finds people taking her doors off. She is dropped in the ocean to become a new reef for the fish. The first grade teacher was happy to hear about the book but it also fit into her curriculum ...more
Miss Amanda
Jun 17, 2013 Miss Amanda rated it really liked it
gr 1-3 picturebook

1964-2001 NYC. Tells the story of Jessie the subway car and the changes she goes through her "career" carrying people around New York. Mentions how worn out subway cars were used in project to create an artificial reef off the coast of Delaware.

Reminds me of Virginia Lee Burton's books (The Little House etc) but shorter
Sep 04, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A gorgeously illustrated picture book inspired by the true story of a real subway car. Sensitive children (and grown-ups) may wipe away a tear as Jessie goes from transporting the people of New York to becoming part of a reef in the Atlantic Ocean. But Jessie makes the best of her adventures and, even under-water, becomes an integral part of her new community.
Great book for urban, suburban and rural community unit. Details the life of a subway car from the 1940's/1950's through 1970's including it's disposal in the ocean to create a reef or home for fish. Good conversation starter for: life in the city, manufacturing, transportation, environmentalism, recycling, and changes in NYC and urban life over the decades of the 20th century.
Dec 12, 2012 Erin rated it it was amazing
Subway Story is the story of a subway car that was once modern and new, who is no be retired for the newer modle. This story pairs a nonfiction piece about the history of the NYC subway cars that were recycled to create a new reef in the Atlantic. This would be a great connection for students during a science unit for environmental impact unit or even a social studies unit of NYC in the 1950s.
Alison Russell
This book combines nonfiction and fiction to tell the story of a New York subway car's life. The text describes the development of the New York subway system, and reveals that subway cars were placed into the ocean after they were no longer useable. The drawings and story are appealing to kids of all ages.
Taril Slater
Apr 14, 2014 Taril Slater rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edr-653
The Subway Story by Julia Sarcone-Roach is a true story based on a subway that was created in the 1960's and is now used as artificial reefs in the ocean. I enjoyed the realistic fiction story in which I learned that subways as well as planes, ships, and cars can be used as artificial reefs in the ocean. The story can be used to inform students of such events.
Mar 20, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is the true-ish story of a subway car that came to NYC for the World's Fair and ended up as part of a reef off the coast of Delaware. I enjoyed the voice used to tell the story from Jessie's (the subway car) perspective.

Early elementary.
Jan 01, 2012 Leslie rated it it was amazing
This story of a NYC subway car's life on the rails and its surprise ending will be an engaging read aloud. Include this in "Things that Go" storytimes or explorations of coral reefs. Excellent author's note.
Emily Leeds
Apr 05, 2016 Emily Leeds rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, history
My boys loved this book mostly because they are fascinated with the subway. This story has beautiful illustrations and sparked great conversation about forms of transportation. This is a well written book and I appreciated the Authors note explaining the history of the subway car.
Dec 14, 2012 Marcus rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting way to talk about subway trains, with surprisingly rich personification. You feel for the Jessie in this fictional book! Environmental preservation, transportation, and the actual history that inspired this story are this book's instructional affordances.
Jan 26, 2012 Ryan rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and wonderfully written history of a NYC subway car that hits on so many emotional and intellectual levels without feeling manipulative. Extremely touching ending. And amazingly designed book - from the end papers to the author's note. EXCELLENT!
Nicole Kessler
Mar 30, 2012 Nicole Kessler rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This is the story of a subway car born to transport people to The Worlds Fair. I really liked this story because I could connect to riding the train and wondering what happens to the older cars. My students thought is was great that a subway car can house people and sharks.
Nov 20, 2011 Mercy rated it really liked it
Hard working subway cars becomes an articifial coral reef.
Colby Sharp
Feb 12, 2012 Colby Sharp rated it really liked it
Felt a little Toy Storyish.
Linda Atkinson
Oct 17, 2011 Linda Atkinson rated it it was amazing
What a story! Totally engaging, and easy to follow this story had me cheering for Jessie and eager to learn more. Beautifully illustrated picture book for ages 4-8.
Sheila Callahan
Jul 08, 2012 Sheila Callahan rated it liked it
"A brave subway car finds adventure off the tracks."

I think this would be an interesting book to share in a lower elementary classroom.
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Julia Sarcone-Roach's animated short Call of the Wild has shown at numerous film festivals around the world. She attended the Rhode Island School of Design. This is her first book. Julia Sarcone-Roach lives in Brooklyn, New York.
More about Julia Sarcone-Roach...

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