All Aboard!: Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine
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All Aboard!: Elijah McCoy's Steam Engine

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  32 ratings  ·  10 reviews
In the second of Tundra's Great Idea series, biographies for children who are just starting to read, Monica Kulling presents the life of an extraordinary man.

There were few opportunities for the son of slaves, but Elijah McCoy's dreams led him to study mechanical engineering in Scotland. He learned everything there was to know about engines - how to design them and how to...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 10th 2010 by Tundra Books
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Nicola Mansfield
Reason for Reading: Taking my turn before handing it over for a bedtime read to my son, who is very much into inventors right now.

Lovely little first biography for picture book age children or older struggling readers who still like their books filled with illustrations. Of course, Elijah's life is told briefly and rapidly but it manages to hit upon all the major events of his life leading up to the invention of his oil cup which revolutionized steam travel. Not only do we get the facts of this...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Interesting book about a young black man, Elijah McCoy, whose first invention was an oil cup for trains so that the engines didn't have to stop to be oiled periodically during a run. I didn't know that prior to his invention trains had to make so many stops to be oiled, thereby making the journey longer. I also found it interesting that he studied overseas in Scotland. And he was the origin of the phrase "the real McCoy"! Very informative and recommended!
Elijah McCoy, the son of former slaves who took the Underground Railroad to freedom, loved fixing machines and "tinkering with tools". After receiving an education in Scotland, he took a job with the Michigan Central Railroad, hoping to be an engineer. Though the only position available to him was shoveling coal, Elijah took the dirty job for the money and a chance to work on the railroad. As he worked, he was inspired to create an oil cup that would keep the steam engine working smoothly withou...more
4.5 stars. Not at all what I expected!!! Did not know Elijah McCoy invented the oil cup that would change the history of steam engines, or that his family got to canada on the Underground Railroad, or that we owe the phrase "the real McCoy" to this man and his oil cup.
This story was more anecdotal than a full blown biography. It focused mostly on Elijah McCoy's invention of an oil dispenser for train engines and his first job as an ashcat after returning from schooling in Scotland. There was an afterword in which the author described the other inventions he patented later. Overall, the book was good. The illustrations were probably my favorite part. This would be good for younger elementary audiences.
This was an acceptable book. Unfortunately, I don't have it to hand for this review, so it'll be a short one.

All the necessary details of Elijah McCoy's life were covered - unfortunately, the author saw fit to put in that spurious nonsense about "the real McCoy" - a cute story, but the phrase predates the man, and so could not POSSIBLY have come from his inventions.

I did feel it jumped around a bit, especially during his childhood.
This book offers the interesting story of Elijah McCoy, who invented an oil cup to make the steam engine run faster and more safely.

grades K-2
this was an okay biography, would have been more enjoyable had i not read the excellent "the real mccoy" by wendy towle a couple days before.
Checked this out for my son Elijah to read. Loved the story and how the author made it easy to understand. Great illustrations.
Want "The real McCoy?" Read this great picture book biography.
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Monica Kulling was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. She received a BA in creative writing from the University of Victoria. Monica Kulling has published twenty-six fiction and nonfiction books for children, including picture books, poetry, and biographies. She is best known for introducing biography to children just learning to read and has written about Harriet Tubman, Houdini, Eleanor Rooseve...more
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