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On the Blue Comet

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  679 Ratings  ·  164 Reviews
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 tea ...more
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Published November 1st 2010 by Candlewick Press (MA) (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
Jun 29, 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
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
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
May 26, 2011 Maggie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Jun 27, 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.
Lisa Lawrence
Great, fun premise and flashes of excellence in the characters, but the story line never quite developed into anything more than predictable "boy returns home." It was okay, and it could have been wonderful! How disappointing!
Abby Turner
Eleven year old Oliver faces frightening changes and challenges. This book is both historical fiction and time travel fantasy. Anyone who loves trains will get a thrill took
Michael Kott
May 28, 2017 Michael Kott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jake-zoe
Well done, highly recommended.
Harold Ogle
A pretty satisfying children's/YA novel about an 11-year-old kid of the Great Depression who loves model trains. I read this knowing absolutely nothing more than that, and I recommend that anyone else read it that way, too.

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Ein Buch für Liebhaber von Modeleisenbahnen

Seit dem Tod der Mutter baut Oscar zusammen mit seinem Vater im Keller eine Modeleisenbahn, doch dann kommt es zu einer Wirtschaftkrise. Oscars Vater muss das Haus zusammen mit der Modeleisenbahn an die Bank abgeben.
Um wieder mehr Geld zu verdienen, reist Oscars Vater nach Kalifornien und lässt seinen Sohn bei der geizigen Tante Carmen zurück .
Oscar freundet sich mit dem Nachtwächter in einer Bank an und zusammen lassen sie die riesige Modeleisenbahn i
Lori Redman
Oscar is an eleven-year-old boy who has had a hard life. His mother died in a terrible accident, his father loses his job and has to move to California, and Oscar is left with his strict and overbearing Aunt Carmen in his little town of Cairo, Illinois. The year is 1929, and the Great Depression has put on hold the fabulous hobby of train-collecting that Oscar and his father did as a bonding activity. However, as Oscar is inadvertently involved in a bank hold up, the unthinkable happens, and he ...more
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
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
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
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
Jan 07, 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
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
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
Tracie D'angelo
Jun 19, 2013 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
Here's another* case of an author writing a novel that appeals more to parents than to kids. On the Blue Comet is a children's novel set in the Great Depression involving trains, famous historical figures, time travel and the consequences of changing the past. I can show you plenty of kids who might be interested in reading about time travel and some that might be interested in trains, but if they're interested in having those topics appear in their fiction, they probably won't care too much abo ...more
Jun 19, 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
Nov 04, 2015 Jillian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 19, 2012 Sharon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 14, 2010 Raquel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-work
Such a superb book! I didn't think I would like it but I was sucked in within the first few pages. By chapter 2, I was hooked! The story is about a young boy named Oscar who gets separated from his father during the Great Depression. His father builds model train tracks and Oscar discovers that the tracks are secret time-travel portals.

I know it sounds far fetched but Rosemary Wells does such a great job with it. The story goes from 1929 to 1931 to 1941 to 1926 and back to 1931. There is a incre
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
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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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