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On the Blue Comet

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  614 Ratings  ·  151 Reviews
Oscar Ogilvie is living with his dad in a house at the end of Lucifer Street, in Cairo, Illinois, when world events change his life forever. The great stock market crash has rippled across the country, and the bank takes over their home—along with all their cherished model trains. Oscar’s dad is forced to head west in search of work, and Oscar must move in with his no-nons ...more
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Published September 28th 2010 by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio (first published 2010)
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This is a fun and engaging story that is part historical fiction and part fantasy. Oscar is an eleven year old boy from Illinois during the Great Depression when his father loses his job selling John Deere tractors and has to go to California to find work. Oscar is left with his strict Aunt Carmen and finds life without his father utterly miserable until a mysterious man named Mr Applegate helps him with his math homework and a friendship is born. Mr Applegate finally gets a job as a night watch ...more
Amy Bailey
Nov 18, 2011 Amy Bailey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up because of one thing. I picked it up and noticed the synopsis which said Oscar Ogilvie is an 11 year old boy from Cairo, IL. I didn't know anyone even knew where Cairo, IL, was. I've been there with my father, as he spent a lot of his years there when he was younger. Today, the little town is almost dead. It was strangled by racism in the 1960's and 70's and now there's nothing left but dilapidated buildings and the poorest people you'll ever see. So, when I saw a child's a ...more
Mary Louise Sanchez
Eleven-year-old Oscar Ogilvie lives with his dad in Cairo, Illinois where they take care of each other and delight in their collection of model trains, until the trains must be sold because the stock market crashes and Oscar's dad loses his job selling John Deere tractors. Oscar moves in with his aunt now that his dad has gone to California to look for work. Oscar isn't happy there because Aunt Carmen won't let Oscar cook and makes many demands, especially one that is challenging to Oscar--that ...more
Jul 02, 2011 Josiah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Was On the Blue Comet influenced a tiny bit, perhaps, by the impressive success achieved by When You Reach Me upon that latter book's acclaimed release in 2009? Or maybe was it the success of that book that led Rosemary Wells to gain faith in a similar idea that had been germinating in her own writer's subconscious for quite some time by then, and witnessing the very favorable reception given to When You Reach Me allowed Rosemary Wells to see that now was the ideal time to give flight to her ow ...more
Nicola Mansfield
Dec 22, 2010 Nicola Mansfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reason for Reading: I've read a few of the author's books and this time it was the historical fiction aspects along with the time travel that drew me to this book. Plus I do also have a thing for old trains.

Oscar Ogilvie lives in the early 1930's. It is Christmas Eve, 1931 to be exact when the action starts to take place in the book. But a bit earlier than this we get to know Oscar and his dad who have a passion for model train collecting and have spend hours in their basement working with their
Jun 29, 2010 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Margo Tanenbaum
Fans of time travel books and trains should love acclaimed picture-book author and novelist Rosemary Wells' newest release. In this exciting story, eleven-year-old Oscar has a good life in Cairo, Illinois, even though his mom died when he was little. He and his dad manage just fine, thank you; Oscar cooks supper after school, does his homework, and after his dad comes home from work, they work on their elaborate Lionel model train world in their basement.

But when the stock market crashes, the De
May 26, 2011 Maggie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 15, 2014 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We listened to this book on audio CD for a roadtrip. We found it entertaining and interesting. The subject matter is more for middle-school aged and up since it makes references to a robbery, violence, and death. I like the that the book is set on the verge of the Crash of '29 and the Great Depression, and later makes reference to WWII. The story is a bit tricky as it involves minor time-traveling. Both my husband and I felt there was a flaw in the story when the main character's validity in the ...more
Nov 11, 2015 J.D.Staton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an unusually imaginative story that felt, at first, very much like another version of "Dorothy in the Land Of OZ", but went into far more sci-fi, as well as, more original directions that I never could have dreamt of! The relationships, time-travel, the diverse settings, the links to old Hollywood, and the possibilities of life are all touched on in exquisitely wonderful ways. This is far better than any form of "pen pal" story, as it is genuinely multi-dimensional in perspective. What a ...more
Feb 28, 2014 Nathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really good book for train lovers out there and people that like fantasy. This book is about a boy that goes on a train because of a stoe robbery. The train takes this boy back and forward through time. On this magical journey this boy meets old and new people. What I like about this book is thatit gives enough deail as to what is happening. If you still can't picture what is happening they give you a picture to help. What I also like is that th ebook is evenly spaced. It doesn't go to ...more
Jan 13, 2014 Elaine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book! I think it is one of those books that will be more enjoyed by parents than children, although the right child would love it too. Who is the best child for this book? A 10-14 year old boy, preferably a strong Catholic, that loves train sets. (I'm just not sure how many boys love trains today.) Another reason I think parents would enjoy it more is the multiple references to famous characters of another day and age. There are references to the stock market crash of 1929 an ...more
Nov 29, 2014 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-books
'On the Blue Comet' is a novel whose story features a child and his exploits with time travelling model railway engines. Beautifully illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, this beguiling tale is set in depression era America and has a memorable cast of characters. But a children's book? No, not really: more for young adults and beyond as this novel has so many references/similes/metaphors that would need knowledge beyond that of someone aged 13/14. To say someone had an 'old fashioned', without stat ...more
Dec 09, 2015 Jillian rated it really liked it
Quite good!

This book was recommended by a friend (who actually hasn't read it, but had heard lots of kids gushing about it and wanted me to report back on it), and so I had absolutely no expectations or impressions before I started reading it. But it caught my interest quickly, and I kept going with it.
It's a nice blend of historical fiction and science fiction (though some of the science was either dodgy or beyond my puny capabilities). It was fun to see several favourite historical characters
Eleven-year-old Oscar Ogilvie lives with his father in a small house in Cairo, IL where they spend their time together building and running model trains. After the stock market crash of 1929, Oliver's dad loses his job and the bank forecloses on their home. Oliver's father is forced to sell all their precious trains and travel to California to look for work. Oliver moves in with his Aunt Carmen and his cousin Willa Sue. Oliver misses his father and spends his days alone. One day, Oliver meets a ...more
Addison Children
What began as nicely written historical fiction set in the Great Depression, became a time travel fantasy that rather put me off. However, I persevered and did enjoy the story. Oscar and his dad lose everything, Dad goes to California in search of work and Oscar must stay with a rather strict aunt. When Oscar witnesses a bank robbery, he jumps into a model railway layout, becomes wee, and travels via Lionel Train to California, arriving 10 years in the future. This chapter book also has several ...more
Mar 04, 2014 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

One day in a house at the end of Lucifer Street, on the Mississippi River side of Cairo, Illinois, eleven-year-old Oscar Ogilvie’s life is changed forever. The Crash of 1929 has rippled across the country, and Oscar’s dad must sell their home—with all their cherished model trains—and head west in search of work. Forced to move in with his humorless aunt, Carmen and his teasing cousin, Willa Sue, Oscar is lonely and miserable—until he meets a mysterious drifter and witnesses a crime so stunning i
Amy Hendrickson
Feb 01, 2014 Amy Hendrickson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Back in my early Goodreads days I handed out five stars left and right. If I really liked a book I would give it five stars, not really based on the quality of writing or theme or content. But my rating system has evolved. When I like a book I tend to give it three stars. If I really liked it I give it four stars. So it's rare for me to give five stars. Five stars is an amazing book like Harry Potter or the Hunger Games or Ocean at the End of the Lane.

So back to the Blue Comet. It was amazing.
Tracie D'angelo
Feb 03, 2016 Tracie D'angelo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oscar Ogilvie is your typical 11-year old boy growing up in 1931 Cairo, Illinois. He and his Dad spent many hours setting up Lionel trains in the basement. Mrs. Ogilvie died in an accident and Mr. Ogilvie worked for John Deere. After the crash in 1929, the U.S. was thrown in the The Great Depression. The John Deere company closed it's doors and Mr. Ogilvie had to go looking for work after losing his house and precious collection of trains. Oscar went to live with Aunt Carmen. One day, while sitt ...more
Sep 24, 2015 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4th grade booktalk

Oscar Ogilvie and his dad are hit hard by the stock market crash that spiked the Great Depression. They have no money, and the bank takes away their house – and everything in it, including the model trains Oscar and his dad treasure. Oscar’s father, desperate for a job, moves west in hopes of finding one – but isn’t able to afford to take Oscar with him, so Oscar moves in with his strict aunt Carmen. Life is suddenly very depressing for Oscar Ogilvie – there’s a reason they cal
Aimee (Getting Your Read On)
Oscar lives with his Dad in a home in Illinois. Together they enjoy the hobby of putting together model train sets. Then the stock market crashes and Oscar’s dad loses his job, their house and their beloved train set. When Oscar’s dad leaves in search of work, Oscar is forced to live with his aunt who is a stern and cold lady. Oscar meets a stranger one day who becomes a real friend to him. The stranger teaches him poems and helps him with his math. Then one day Oscar witnesses a horrible crime ...more
Nov 24, 2010 Phoebe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cheryl
Oscar Ogilvie Junior loves model trains and his dad more than anything else in the world. His hometown of Cairo, Illinois, is hit just as hard as the rest of small town America by the crash of 1929--the bank takes the Ogilvie house, and all the beloved trains--then Oscar's dad heads to California to find work, leaving Oscar with Aunt Carmen. Deeply unhappy, Oscar finds a friend in Mr. Applegate, a gentleman down on his luck, who tutors him in math and teaches him a trick for memorization. Then o ...more
Mar 19, 2012 Sharon rated it it was ok
I can see why adults think that kids would like this. Time travel! Toy trains! Nostalgia for the depression era! (??) But there's not much here. The characters are flat. The story line is interesting but, as often happens with time travel, leaves a lot of questions about how and why. The author sprinkles period colloquialisms throughout the dialog, but there's a fake feel to them. There are some truly pointless scenes (such as where the boy tries to call his father from New York) and a lot of ra ...more
Jan 12, 2011 Allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenille
I listened to the audio version of this book. It tells the story of a young boy,Oscar Ogilvie,growing up in Cairo,
Illinois when the Great Depression hits. Oscar's father looses his job and the bank reposseses their house and sells everything in it including their model train layout. When his father leaves to find a job in another state,Oscar is forced to live with his aunt and cousin. His only entertainment is going to the bank to see the model train setup there. When robbers enter the bank, Osc
Eleven-year-old Oscar Ogilvie lives in Cairo, Illinois with his father. The two share a love of model trains, and spend evenings working on their elaborate set up in the basement. The stock market crash of 1929 does not affect them immediately, but ultimately it causes his father to lose his job, the house, and the model train collection. Oscar Senior heads to California to look for work while his son moves in with a straightlaced aunt. The only joy in young Oscar's life is the time he spends wi ...more
Michele Knott
For a book that started out pretty slow, it turned out to be a fabulous read! This book is lengthy at 329 pages, so for most 3rd graders it would be a good read aloud, maybe for some 4th graders, but mature 4th grade readers and up will really like this book. It's a suspenseful novel, with a little bit of history and science included! 11 year old Oscar lives in the time of the Great Depression. He lives with his Dad and their joy, their Lionel trains and layouts. However, his Dad is forced to go ...more
Sep 10, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised by how much I liked this book! It's a little bit historical fiction and a little bit fantasy. Oscar, a boy growing up during the Great Depression, is forced to live with his horrible aunt while his father looks for work in California. Both Oscar and his father love trains and one night, during a bank robbery, Oscar accidentally 'jumps' into the model train set. The trains are real and Oscar travels to California, meeting a young Ronald Reagan along the way.

Once he reaches Califo
Part historical fiction, part time travel mystery, On the Blue Comet starts with a young boy, Oscar, and his father living in Cairo, Illinois in the late 1920s. They share a love of model trains and have built a wonderful train layout in the basement of their home. When the crash comes in 1929, the father loses his job and the house and has to sell the trains to pay for a ticket to California to try to find work. Oscar has to stay with his Aunt and cousin and misses his father terribly. When he ...more
Sep 15, 2011 M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is set in depression days, roughly 1931. Oscar Ogilvie, Jr., age 11, and his widowed dad have lived together quite happily for several years when the dad loses his job at John Deere, loses the house to the bank, and is forced to sell the wonderful model train layout the two have worked on for years. While his dad goes to California to find work, Oscar, Jr., goes to live with his aunt and cousin in their small Illinois town. Aunt Carmen isn't anyone's idea of a warm and sympathetic mothe ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Rosemary Wells is the author of a number of popular children's books, most notably the Max and Ruby series which follows the everyday adventures of sibling bunnies - curious three year old Max and bossy seven year old Ruby. She gets the inspiration for Max and Ruby from her two daughters and the experiences they
More about Rosemary Wells...

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