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Maybelle the Cable Car
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Maybelle the Cable Car

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  280 ratings  ·  26 reviews
By recounting actual events in San Francisco's effort to keep the city's cable cars running, this classic story illustrates how the voice of the people can be heard in the true spirit of democracy.
Paperback, 48 pages
Published March 31st 1997 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1952)
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Jun 25, 2009 Kathryn rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of 1910-1950 San Fransico and cable cars
I probably would have given this book three stars if it weren't for the nostalgic appeal. Burton wrote "Katy and the Big Snow" and "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel" and "The Little House" which I doted on as a kid. Also, I have a soft spot for San Francisco in the 19-teens as I love that era in history and my grandpa was a boy there then. This story is cute and a good little history lesson, though nothing especially splendid. I didn't realize that in the late 1940s the cable cars were almost ...more
A charming picture book telling the story of the San Franciscan cable cars and how they were saved from disappearance by some loyal San Franciscans who recognized what a loss these historical cars would be. The pictures are cute and just right for the story, and the story is told an informative yet fun way.
I love Virginia Lee Burton's books, so I immediately picked this one up while looking for car books for my son. It is based off the true story of how the city of San Francisco banded together to save the cable cars, despite the city fathers wanting to get rid of them in the name of progress. Maybelle, as the title suggests, is one of the old cable cars that is thankfully spared the chopping block and her and her fellow cable cars are allowed to run up and down the hilly city. She eventually beco ...more
Brendan Howard
Less for Z, and more for me.
Maybelle the cable car is a cute enough book about the long history of San Francisco's cable cars but I think the majority of it was lost on my 3 year old who has never been to California and has never seen a cable car. The book also talks quite a bit about legislative process: petitions, polls, voting, etc. The subject matter doesn't seem to match up with the intended audience but maybe that's just me.
This week I have read a treasury that contains 4 of Burton's stories. This is definitely my favorite. I do not have any real interest in cars or steam shovels or snow plows. But I do love San Francisco and really enjoyed this historical story of how the citizens had to work to protect the cable cars. It was the history, especially, that I enjoyed.
Charming story, fun bit of San Francisco history still evident today
Super cute! I didn't know Virginia Lee Burton had another book!
I loved this book!
When I read this story with my daughter, she wasn't that interested. I really like Virginia Burton's books because of how much detail they have in the illustrations. With my daughter, we just read the story and didn't linger. But I read the book with my son yesterday and he was pointing at all the 'extra' text and wanted to know what everything said and really seemed to enjoy it. I like that its historical and that it teaches how voting works.
Apr 18, 2011 Stephanie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Stephanie by: Sonlight
Shelves: homeschool
Although I don't particularly like this this story my son LOVES it. The pictures entice him despite the length of the story. As soon as we finished reading the book, he picked it up by himself and began creating his own story based on the pictures. Adorable. So I guess we can give it a thumbs up based on his love for the book.
We love Virginia Lee Burton's books so much and this was no exception. This is the true story about how the citizens of San Francisco saved the city's cable cars from retirement. It's beautifully illustrated and well-written - a wonderful story about the power of the people to make their voices heard.
Just okay...definitely not as great as some of her other books. My son is a HUGE fan of Mike Mulligan and Choo Choo so we have been checking all her other books out of the library each week. This one is cute, just not as cute. Also, I think my son didn't really get the whole moral of the story.
Tim Askin
Looking back at this book recently as a potential present to a dear friend's child, I realize this may have been the first step down my career path in historic preservation. Thank you, Ms. Burton, even if I'm realizing it 20+ years late.
this is one of the best books about the city i've ever read.
great description of howcable cars work. it is also a perfect use of graphics, story and art. this is an eary example of of graphic non-fiction.
i really loved this story as one of tender conservation, but there was a little too much information going on to hold the interest of the kids, even with my voices, noises and faces.
Brenna Johnson
Another classic by Virginia Lee Burton. I read it as part of the collection Mike Mulligan and other stories.
Miss Clark
Delightful story of the cable cars in San Francisco and the fight to save them. Wonderful illustrations and the story is engagingly told. Recommended!
47 months - a fairly wordy book recounting how the San Francisco trolleys were saved. Probably not an everyday read but we enjoyed it from the library.
Cute story that reminded me of our trip to SF and trips on Cable cars. My 4 year old loved it. Not her strongest story but still fun.
Beautiful story about historical cable cars and an effort to save them.
What a GREAT look at the San Fransisco cable cars. We LOVED this book!
great book that shows SF Cable cars and history of SF.
More a history lesson about San Francisco - long.
Ker marked it as to-read
Jun 28, 2015
Ben Biddle
Ben Biddle marked it as to-read
Jun 23, 2015
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Virginia Lee Burton was an American illustrator and children's book author. Burton produced seven self-illustrated children's books. She married Boston Museum school sculptor, George Demetrios, with whom she had two sons and lived in Folly Cove, Gloucester. She died at 59.

More about Virginia Lee Burton...
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel The Little House Katy and the Big Snow Mike Mulligan and More: A Virginia Lee Burton Treasury Choo Choo

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