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Author: Jim Murphy

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Jodi Shelly

on 8 May 2015

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Transcript of Author: Jim Murphy

The Great Fire
An American Plague: The True and Terrifying
Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793
A Young Patriot:
The American Revolution as Experienced by One Boy
Blizzard!: The Storm that Changed America
Jim Murphy
author study by Jodi Shelly
Though war is supposed to be fought by able-bodied men, many young boys enlisted to fight for their country (Union and Confederate) during the American Civil War. Many lied about their age; others received parental permission. Some were signed on as combatants, many were selected with the task of drummer. (Drummers were used to relay orders within the ranks during battle.)

This book is filled with quotations that are taken from journals and letters written by the boys, young men between the ages of 12 and 18, during the war. The book provides points of view from Union and Confederate perspectives.

War is never for the faint of heart. It is not a romping adventure. The boys soon learn what it means to be a soldier. The writers express their fears, hopes, homesickness and other concerns in their letters and journals. Their quotes describe living conditions, fighting conditions, and quality of food. One Southern boy wrote how he had to remove clothes from dead bodies after a battle in order to be properly outfitted!
This book is well-researched. It is filled with many black and white photographs of young men in their uniforms, gruesome battlefields, and daily life in camp. The author mingles the quotations throughout the book as he relates many aspects of life in both armies. The book is structured chronologically. The nine chapters capture - enlistment, first battles, enlightenment to the reality of war, service as a drummer and soldier, the tedium of war, living in camp over the winter, their growth and maturation during this time, the reality of being captured or wounded and concludes with the surrender at Appomattox and the return home.

A bibliography is also provided.
The Boys' War:
Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War
Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting
The political climate of Europe at the turn of the 20th century was fraught with leaders who were blinded with thoughts of imperialism, nationalism, conquest, and defense. This book provides evidence that the events which occurred after the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand (the spark that ignited the hostilities of WWI) could have been avoided. World War I could have been avoided!

Leaders on both sides of the conflict believed that the war would be short-lived. Propaganda issued on both sides decried, "Victory is on the horizon!" Early campaign strategies (German advances and Allied retreats) are discussed. Within six months of the start of the conflict, the Allied armies and the weary German armies settled into trench warfare. The Western Front stretched 475 miles; it ran from the North Sea to the Swiss border. The trenches ran parallel to one another with between 50 and 1000 yards them. This area was known as "No Man's Land."

The conditions in the trenches were miserable. Neither army advanced. Weather, death, pestilence, boredom, unsanitary conditions were all endless horrors of trench-living.

This book details how, at various points along the Western Front, the men laid down their arms and met under the flag of Truce on Christmas Day, 1914. They celebrated, shared stories, took photographs together and played sports. Though the fighting forces on the field relished this time, High Command on both sides did not condone this behavior. Additionally, some of the men stayed behind. One interesting quote in the book comes from Corporal Adolf Hitler, who refused to share in the truce. "Such a thing should never happen in wartime. Have you no German sense of honor?" (Murphy, 80)
The book is filled with black and white photographs and quotes. A timeline of events, a list of primary sources and a listing of other works about World War I is provided.

Invincible Microbe:
Tuberculosis and the Never-Ending Search for a Cure
The words, "Remember the Alamo" have become a battle-cry to many American troops. It is a command for all who hear to remain steadfast and brave at their post. It is also a command to fight on - continue with the struggle until the last man falls.

The battle to defend the Alamo is true heroic tale to be remembered. It is the story of fighting men (less than 200 in number) who defended a fort near the town of San Antonio de Be'xar against the Mexican army, which totaled approximately 2000 men. The battle was a siege during the Texas War of Independence, as people living in the settled areas of Texas no longer wanted to be a part of Mexico.
Inside the Alamo
recounts the events that led to the siege at the Alamo. It describes the major participants and explains their place in history.

The Mexican Army was led by Antonio Lo'pez de Santa Anna. The band of troops at the fort defending the Alamo complex was commanded by William Barrett Travis. Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, men known for their courage and daring-do, were also at the Alamo. Interestingly though, Jim Bowie had been ill throughout the siege and doesn't leave his sick bed at any time during the fight. He died in bed. Stories conflict regarding his death.

Travis sent messages out for help, which went unanswered. The much-needed help (300 men, supplies, weapons, heavy artillery and ammunition) never arrived, as the caravan of supplies from Fort Defiance found itself stuck in the mud shortly after it started its journey toward southward. In the end, no outside help would arrive to aid those within the Alamo complex. Alone, the defenders did stand their ground.

Santa Anna did not take any prisoners of war. All his enemies either died in battle, or were killed with a bayonet after the battle had ended. Only one adult male combatant survived the battle. His name was Henry Warnell. Mr. Warnell lived only for a few months though. He died from wounds that he had either received during the battle or afterward while trying to escape capture. Santa Anna permitted the women and children from the Alamo to go free. As a gesture of propaganda, he sent each of them away with a blanket and two silver coins.

One lost battle does not always loss the war. Eventually. Texans was able to defeat the Mexican army and gain its independence. When the war concluded, Mexico lost Texas (and 40 percent of Mexican territory. After ten years as a separate republic, Texas joined the United States in 1846.
Not only does the book recount the valor of the men assigned to defend the Alamo complex, it also provides biographical information of the important men on both sides of the battle. The lives of Stephen Austin, Santa Anna, Jim Bowie, David Crockett, William Barret Travis, James Fannin, Juan Segui'n, Jose de la Pena, and Sam Houston are features in the text.
Inside the Alamo
This biography relates the story of Benedict Arnold. Though he is best known as a traitor to the American cause, he had been a crack military strategist, who was able to make a stand against the enemy, rally his troops into action, and achieve victory - where others would have failed. According to this biography, Benedict Arnold was an honorable man. He was also loved and admired by his troops.

Unfortunately, his brash actions and need for victory did not sit well with many of the other American military leaders. His name would be defamed by many. His victories were credited to others. Congress would find many reasons to slight him. He would ask to reinforcements and funds. These would be denied. The generals who were jealous of his abilities found ways to discredit him. Additional slights would come, as inferior officers were advanced in rank and he was not. Though General Washington and General Major Schuyler were his staunchest allies, Benedict Arnold failed to gain the recognition he felt he deserved.

After receiving a second injury to his leg, he returned to Philadelphia to convalesce. Having been a widower for three years, he fell in love with Peggy Shippen. They married. The Shippen family were Loyalists and socially connected to Major Andre', master-spy for the British.

When Congress finally agrees to promote Benedict and put him back into command, he rejects the offer. He asks instead for command of West Point, he claims his leg is too painful for battle. He has already decided that he will surrender West Point to the British. After Arnold and Andre' have a clandestine meeting and Arnold gives Andre' the West Point plans, Andre' is captured and the plot is exposed. Benedict Arnold is labeled a traitor. He escapes to England. Later, he and his family will settle in Canada.

The Real Benedict Arnold
A young black bear goes on an adventure for food. The story begins, in the forest, where a larger black bear does not want to share his berries with the smaller bear. In the air, the bear smells food and heads toward that direction. The smell seems to be coming from the area on the other side of the road. He crosses the street and finds his way into someone's backyard. There he spots raccoons, who are also scavenging for something to eat. He backs into something in the backyard and he makes a lot of noise. The noise stirs the family inside the house, who go out to investigate. The bear is afraid of the family's dog and gets himself cornered by the police. The bear manages to escape and elude the humans. Eventually, the bear is able to make his way safely back into the forest. He has had an adventure.
This is not just a story about a bear and his adventure in town. The author provides information after the story to explain many facts about the bear. He talks about how human encroachment into the wilderness has forces many bears to seek food in communities. The author provides facts about an average black bear's weight, agility, powerful sense of smell and hunting habits. Jim Murphy also reminds the reader that they are not teddy bears and should never he thought of as cute and cuddly. Their nocturnal habits are also discussed.

On the last page, the author provides the reader with a list of books by wildlife agencies for additional information.
Backyard Bear
The information for this book, comes from the perspective of green boys, who have signed on to their first voyage. They are young and innocent to the ways of the whaling ships. The book is filled with first-hand accounts of the harsh weather, the back-breaking and grueling work, the relentless sea, the hours of boredom and a sea devoid of whales. (Many greenies will only serve one tour on a whaling ship.)

The chapter,
A Foot of Oil on Deck
, is exceptionally brutal to read. (I confess I had a difficult time reading through it.) The author provides matter-of fact, stomach-churning details of how whalers perform the gruesome harvest of the carcasses.

The history of whaling, (prosperous years and the declining years) is provided within the text. The final chapter offers hope to the gentle giants. In many countries (excluding Norway, Japan and Iceland) have agreed to end whaling. Additionally, the industry of whale hunting has been replaced with the tourist-industry's money-maker, whale -watching.
This book is filled with black and white photographs and drawings. Biological information, general body statistics (height, weight, etc.), and general information of a specific species of whale is highlighted throughout the book. A black and white drawing of the whale is also included. A glossary and bibliographic sources complete the book.

Gone A-Whaling: The Lure of the Sea and the Hunt for the Great Whale
Baseball, AKA: America's game, has been a part of summer culture for more than 150 years. It has been written about, talked about, played and enjoyed by many generations of young and old alike.

It is a game of personalities and a game of statistics. In 1983, Jim Murphy compiled a listing of the all-time greatest line-up of professional players to date. He created two listings. There is one for the National League and one for the American League. Each chapter: highlights an individual player, provides a black and white photograph of the player, offers a snippet about his time spent "on the field and at bat," and is filled with a plethora of his baseball statistics. The author acknowledges that the listing presented in the book is his compilation based on his own personal opinion.
Baseball's All-Time All-Stars
Guess Again (
a sequel to
Weird and Wacky Inventions)
was written in 1986.
Baffling and Bizarre Inventions
is an updated version of
Guess Again

These books are fun to read. Each page within each chapter contains a picture of an odd, bizarre, patented invention and asks the reader to decide which answer (among three or four listed) correctly describes the purpose of each invention pictured. A few sentences to describe the invention's workings along with a subtle hint is also provided.

With a flip of the page, the reader is presented the correct answer and a paragraph to explain what problem the inventor hoped to solve with his invention.
Guess Again: More Weird & Wacky Inventions
This book details the evolution of the bicycle.

The first two-wheeled vehicle that transported a person, did so - without peddles, steering, brakes, or even a place to sit upon. It was called a celerifere; it was a novelty item for the nobility of Louis XVI's court. The next innovation was called the draisienne. This vehicle had a padded seat, an armrest, and a rudder for steering. A fancier model, the velocipede, was invented twenty years later. Many of the well-to-do gentlemen of the early 19th century sported these vehicles. These were the precursors to the modern day bicycle.

The very first bicycle, was created in 1863 by Pierre Michaux. It was called the boneshaker; pedals were affixed to the front wheels, which allowed the person to ride without ever touching the ground.

Vehicles that were propelled by using bicycles chains were not bicycles at all. They were tricycles. Models included: the Gromully, the Jeffery Ideal and the Peugeot Tricycle Porteur. The author writes of how the first steam engine affixed to a velocipede gave way to gasoline powered engines and resulted in the first motorcycles. The book adds, that by the end of the 19th century, many bicycle manufacturers were selling unicycles, tricycles, bicycles, motorcycles and motorized four-wheeled vehicles.

The author provides a history for how bicycles and tricycles were used throughout the centuries for pleasure and for transportation. He describes how every innovation to the machine led to more innovations until the vehicle became the model of today. He further details how over the years, the vehicle's weight, and expense to own would dramatically decrease.
This book is filled with illustrations and black-and white photographs from the time-period. At the end of the book, there is a two page photograph of a multi-speed Peugeot bicycle. The caption reads, "Anatomy of a Bicycle." Parts of the machine are designated with a number that corresponds to the list provided in the illustration.

Though published thirty-two years ago, this book is filled with relevant historical data.
Two Hundred Years of Bicycles
Tractors are mechanical work-horses of the farm. In the beginning, they were not called tractors; they were known as traction engines, road locomotives and/or steamers.

The first steam wagon was created in 1765 by Nicolas Joseph Cugnot. His contraption of wood and metal moved six miles/hour; the steam engine used a simple piston-rod setup. (The coal fire was lit under a huge boiler.)
News of Cugnot's success, stirred others to follow. In 1805, Robert Trevithick mounted a steam engine unto a wooden carriage and followed a few years later with a similar machine on metal tracks. Other machine soon followed: the Orukter Amphibolus, the steam carriage, and the Clinton locomotive.

Steam engines for use on the farm began with the Ransome self-propelled steam engine in 1841. The engine powered a threshing device. John Fowler's mole drainer improved plow design. Plowing engines were in farms by the mid 1860's. Other heavy steam engines were invented. These include: the steam roller, the thresher, the digger and the derrick. By the end of the 19th century steam engines were replaced with internal-combustion gas engines. Many companies began producing tractors, including Ford, General Motors, and a farm-tool manufacturer named John Deere and Company. Over time, the tractor would become the farmer's most indispensable piece of machinery.
Throughout the book, there are black and white drawings and photographs that illustrate the change in the tractor's design from its early beginnings to the present (1984).
In the final chapter, the author looks to the future of tractors. He reminds the readers that though tractors of the future may have more bells and whistles and/or have more power, they will look very much like the machines in present day.
Tractors: From Yesterday's Steam Wagons to Today's Turbocharged Giants
This picture book relates the story of one day in the life of a family of smaller lesser-known dinosaurs. It is the tale of one particular dinosaur, in one particular family of dinosaurs. The reader is invited to watch how a Hypsilophodon survives on the planet millions of years ago.
The little dinosaur's day begins early in the morning. From the moment the family arise, they begin the search for food. These dinosaurs are herbivores; they seek out greens, shoots, flowers, and vegetation. While foraging for food, they come upon a giant Sauropelta waiting to catch insects to eat. After which, they scurry away from a hungry pterosaur. When a pair of Deinonychus come charging toward the family, the main Hypsilophodon uses his defensive - flight tactics to engage the Deinonychus to chase him and not his family. After his family make it to the safety of the deep woods, he is able to escape from and elude the predators, who grow tired and call off the hunt. At the end of the story, the Hypsilophodon is reunited with his family.
Before the story begins, the author provides some general information about the world of the Hypsilophodon to help young readers have a better understanding of the dinosaur world. After the story, the author provides a page of information relating the Hypsilophodon's survival skills. A short glossary that offers additional information about each dinosaur in the book is provided. One the last page, the author lists additional resources for further information about dinosaurs.
Dinosaur for a Day
This is a collection of creepy short stories. They are introduced by a character named Digger - a grave digger by profession. In between the scary tales, Digger relates adventures in the life of a grave-digger.

Story 1 -
Just Say Yes
- This is a story of one high school student's attempt to steal a Science midterm. Her plan goes awry when she discovers that her mouse-eating teacher and many of her school-mates are vampires. When the story ends, she has selected to join their ranks.
Story 2 -
Good Night Jon, Sleep Tight Jon
- In this story, Jon and his friends decide to play a trick on a fellow classmate in the town cemetery. Asia Andrew Bingham is a legend in the cemetery. Even though he has been dead for years, he walks the earth in search of grave robbers. When Jon meets up with Asia in the middle of the cemetery, he is considered a grave robber and is thrown in a coffin and buried alive.
Story 3 -
Like Father, Like Son
- In this story, Brian's father is an Egyptologist who works for a university. Because of the father's most remarkable find, the university allowed Brian's father to install a state-of-the-art replica of a pharaoh's buried tomb in their basement. In addition, the university permitted the father to have priceless artifacts (including mummies), for research. Brian, the ever precocious teenager, thinks he can unlock the mysteries of tomb and reanimate the mummy. After reciting prayers, he accidentally breaks a golden crown. The mummified animals all come to life. Brian becomes prey for thousands of years old hungers.
Story 4 -
Cat's Eye
- Two girls are cat-sitting for an old lady. One stumbles upon a cat's eye marble and decides to steal it. The two girls go exploring in the house and come upon the old lady's bedroom, where upon they discover the lady's secret. She is a witch. The girl who stole the cat's eye has a bad heart and is turned into a cat. All that remains of her bad self is a cat's eye marble, which the old lady gives to the other girl.
Story 5 -
Something Always Happens
- Three friends are driving through the Slough. Their car stalls and Nick goes in search of help. He comes upon a house, and Betty offers him some tea. The tea is calming as well as paralyzing. When her husband, the butcher, comes home, he is carrying two bags of meat, named Mitch and Alan.
Story 6 - Footprints in the Snow - In this tale, Digger explains how he had survived a wolf bite and had become a werewolf, like his friend Alan Allan
These are fast reads, well spun by the author.

Night Terrors
It is late summer 1883. Teresa Angelina Viscardi, age 14, is headed west. She travels with her family (mother, father, sister, brother, baby brother, grandmother, uncle, aunt and cousin) to the land of opportunity. She is going to Opportunity in Idaho Territory. Along with her family of travelers, other immigrants are also heading toward the west. They are all purchased parcels of land from Mr. Anderson, who is creating a new settlement.

Teresa relates her adventure into Idaho into her diary, which her younger sister Antoinetta keeps finding and adding her own entries into. The trek begins slowly by railroad. As they progress westward by rail, addition cars filled with new settlers going to Opportunity are added.

When the settlers disembark the train, they still have many miles to travel by wagon train. After each family selects a pair of oxen and load their wagons, they set off under the direction of a wagon-master, Mr. Bulleau. The travel to Opportunity is fraught with disaster, sickness, Indians, injury and death. Many lives are lost to disease. Teresa's sister falls victim and is buried on the trail.

At the end of the book, the last entry is a letter for Antoinetta. In the letter, Teresa writes that the family will press on and go to Idaho and will write again soon.

In the epilogue, readers learn that Teresa and her family did make it to Idaho, and they flourished. As promised, she continues to write her sister. Her last entry is dated 7/9/1952.
Additional historic facts are included at the end of this book. A map for their route and black and white photographs of the time period are shown and explained. The author also provides information on actual western settlements.
West to a Land of Plenty: The Diary of Teresa Angelina Viscardi
December 2015
At the end of this year, Mr. Murphy's next book is due to be published. Below is the blurb from the Amazon website:

"In 1944 a groundbreaking operation repaired the congenital heart defect known as blue baby syndrome. The operation's success brought the surgeon Alfred Blalock international fame and paved the way for open-heart surgery. But the technique had been painstakingly developed by Vivien Thomas, Blalock's African American lab assistant, who stood behind Blalock in the operating room to give him step-by-step instructions.

The stories of this medical and social breakthrough and the lives of Thomas, Blalock, and their colleague Dr. Helen Taussig are intertwined in this compelling nonfiction narrative." (Breakthrough, 2015)

Breakthrough: How Three People Saved Blue Babies and Changed Medicine Forever
This picture book recounts the last days of the dinosaurs' reign on the planet. The author supposes the Triceratops, by virtue of their strength, agility, fighting skills and body armor may have been the last breed of dinosaurs before the age of mammals. This story revolves around a trio of Triceratops. The trio consists of a female and two males.

As the trio amble through the forest, they smell fire in the distance. After the female creates a nest and lays 15 eggs, the trio are attacked by a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The males are killed before she is able to defeat the Rex. Unfortunately her eggs are taken during the battle by the encroaching fire and scavenging mammals. Her progeny are gone. She escapes the the fire. When the story concludes, she is alone to search for more of her kind.
This book is not one of those cutesy dinosaur books that fill Children's Room shelves at your local library. Though a fiction book, the author provides much factual information about the dinosaur within the text. The illustrations by Weatherby are realistic depictions.

The Last Dinosaur
This picture book is about a twenty-four hour day in the life of one young (two year-old) male wolf. He is part of a pack which includes an alpha male and an alpha female, who are each six years-old, and a few wolf pups. The two year-old is in charge of keeping an eye on the pack, as they follow the caribou.

The pack infiltrate the herd. An injured caribou is selected as the pack's target and the pack proceed to attack formation. Before the wolves can attack, a plane full of poachers armed with rifles stirs the herd into a stampede. In the process of getting away from the poachers, the young wolf becomes injured and lost. When he comes upon another pack of wolves, he takes cover and hides. Should the other pack find him, they would consider him a fair and easy meal. He spends the night hidden. The next day, the young wolf is reunited with his pack. They let out a cry of joy.
This is another picture book that explores nature at its best. Jim Murphy does not personify the wolf; he allows the reader to see him - as he is, in his own environment.

Following the beautifully illustrated text, the author provides additional data about the wolf. He relates the story of how wolves had been almost killed to the point of extinction. The author talks about how wolves are very smart predators. They will not hunt caribou, if the caribou herd is too small. They will allow the herd to grow larger by not hunting. When food is scarce, wolves will not reproduce to manage the food supply. Scientists have also studied their ability to communicate with one another by using a series of calls, and body gestures.

The author provides young readers with a list of additional resources for more information about wolves and their behavior.
The Call of the Wolves
Rat's Christmas Party
In October of 1869, Gideon Emmons and Henry Nichols went to help a neighbor, William (Stub) Newell, dig a well. Twenty minutes after the dig began, a shovel hit something hard. Upon further exam, it was discovered the sound came from something that looked like a blue-grey foot! More workers were called over, and found a large (10' 4-1/2") stone man. News spread of the remarkable find! Many wanted to see! Many were willing to spend money to see!

Scientists were brought in to examine the giant. Some claimed it was a petrified man, others said it was not. The inability to identify the true nature of the giant brought increased attention. The Cardiff Giant had become an overnight celebrity. Many businessmen wanted "a piece of the action," and shares of ownership were sold.

Not everyone believed in the validity of the giant. One skeptic was named James Lawrence. He was able to learn the truth about the giant. It seems the giant was all a hoax devised by William Newell and a man named George Hull.
This book reminds readers not to believe everything they are told. At the end of the book, the author relates a few short stories of hoaxes through the ages. The final story involves a Japanese archeologist , who in 2000, seeded and found many ancient artifacts.
The Giant and How He Humbugged America
In this book, the author takes the reader along as he and Tom attempt to turn a family car into a custom car with a spending budget of $5,500. Their budget includes the cost of the car!

The car selected is a 1967 Ford Fairlane - $75.00. The book explains: how to find the right car, the types of tools needed for the project, how to budget, where to find "old parts," and basic strategies for rebuilding an entire car.

At the end of the book, the author provides a price list for each item purchased, which totals $5,468, thirty-two dollars under budget. A glossary of car terms is also included.
All the photographs in this book are black and white.

This book was published 26 years ago. It offers information for those wishing to learn how previous generations tinkered with and revitalized automobiles, as the information in this book is dated.

Custom Car: A Nuts-and-Bolts Guide to Creating One
Fergus O'Mara is a "Lazy Good For Nothing Lad." When asked by his mother to get peat for the fire, he tells her he is dressed for visiting and can not do it. When asked to bring in the cow, he says he is going out for some playtime in Skibbereen. As he leaves his mother to do all the chores, she warns him that he will one day have to answer for his ways.

And as luck would have it, this is the night he will answer. He meets a cloaked man along the path, who shakes his finger and says, "It is your time, Fergus O'Mara!" Three times Fergus is able to escape from the man. The man grows larger and more ferocious each time he catches up to Fergus, as the man is really the Night Demon. After The Night Demon demands that Fergus begin digging his own grave, to pay for the crime of laziness, Fergus convinces the Demon that he has the wrong Fergus. The Demon leaves in search for the right Fergus. Fergus returns home and becomes industrious.
At the end of the book, the author provides a bit of Irish history and explains how the story is a combination of Irish folk-lore and a smattering of Jim Murphy imagination. It is a fun picture book, and may perhaps get little ones to do their chores for their mothers.
Harold is a pig. One day, he and his friends, Willy and Susie, walk near the football field where the Porkers are practicing. He spots a cheerleader named Esther. It is love at first-sight.

He sets out to win her heart from Bruiser, the football star. First he brings her a giant pumpkin, which Bruiser destroys with his foot. He then tries to beat Bruiser in a pig-to-pig football match. (Harold is no match for Bruiser.) When that fails, he goes to see a cigar-smoking owl, who is also a lawyer. The owl advises Harold to have a big plan.

At the end of the next football game, Harold's big plan takes flight. The giant scoreboard that reads, "Harold thinks Esther is Wonderful," as a marching band plays a love song on the field. A blimp flies overhead and send hundreds of "Harold and Esther Forever" balloons to the ground.

Esther thinks Harold is crazy, and does not love him. Bruiser takes Esther home. Harold finds himself alone at the park. Soon Susie arrives at the park. Harold and she start talking and realize they both like balloons and go back to the football field to have fun together.
This is a simple chapter book, which readers will enjoy. It is also a book written very early in Jim Murphy's career.
Harold Thinks Big
The beginning few pages of this picture book talk about Henry David Thoreau's early live, his Harvard education, his friendship with Ralph Waldo Emerson, and his work with the Transcendentalist Club. (The book also explains that Henry David Thoreau was the first educator to take students on field trips!) It also discusses the events around the penning of
Walden, or Life in the Woods
Civil Disobedience.

Following the biographic information, the story centers around Henry David's hiking trip with two others (Edward Hoar, his friend, and Joe Polis, Indian guide) in the woods of Maine to climb Mount Ktaadn. The book describes the trip, the sights and the tools the trio used throughout their journey.
The author found the information for this book from entries in Thoreau's journals. Thoreau is quoted through some of the text.
This book allows young readers to experience (and study) the wonder of Mother Nature, through the eyes of a great American Renaissance man.
Into the Deep Forest with Henry David Thoreau
Fergus and the Night Demon: an Irish Ghost Story
Weird & Wacky Inventions
Listing of Works by the Author
separated by type and in order of publication

The Long Road to Gettysburg
On June 15, 1776 Congress selected George Washington to command the Continental Army. By August, 1776, the Continental Army was scattered throughout Manhattan, Long Island and New Jersey, because Washington anticipated the British would attack there. He was correct, but he was also ill-prepared to fight against the massive troops that the British had sent. After a trouncing in the Battle of Long Island, Washington and his troops retreated to Brooklyn Heights. The retreat continued, through Harlem Heights, Fort Washington, White Plains and across the Hudson to Fort Constitution (Fort Lee), New Jersey. By December the army (of only 4000 men) has retreated into Pennsylvania. At this point in time, Congress was close firing Washington and giving his command to General Lee.

On Christmas Day, at 4:00 pm, Washington and a small army of 2,400 men began their surprise attack on Trenton. General Washington crossed the Delaware River, ten miles north of Trenton. Generals Ewing, Cadwalader and Putnam also crossed along the Delaware , to catch enemy in retreat. The river was full of ice; it was a windy night. At 4:00 am, (four hours behind schedule) all the men were on the banks of New Jersey.

The Battle of Trenton was fought on December 26, 1776. General Washington bested the Hessian army, under Colonel Rall. It was a pivot victory for the American cause. General Washington not only maintained his command, this victory convinced many American soldiers to re-enlist the following year.
The author provides many historical facts within a well written text. It does not read like a "text book."
Also provided is historic information about the creation of the painting by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze, which is entitled, Washington Crossing the Delaware. The author diescribes the many inaccuracies within the painting.
A brief timeline of Revolutionary War, and a list of Revolutionary War websites is also included.
Additionally, the writer includes a handful of Internet sources for readers. These provide the reader with information on how they can visit Revolutionary War Sites in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The Crossing:
How George Washington Saved The American Revolution
The Journal of James Edmond Pease, a Civil War Soldier, Virginia 1963
In 1863, 16 year-old orphan James Edmond Pease walks away from his uncle's farm and signs up to be a soldier with G Company, led by Lt. Toms. James begins his stint in the union army as a private and soon after the battle of Gettysburg he is given the task of keeping a journal of the G Company's day-to-day activities . He writes about the people in G Company. (The lieutenant is keeping a journal as well. After the war is over, the lieutenant plans to combine the two accounts for posterity.)

While James keeps his journal, readers meet many in the company. Readers also learn about James' exploits and advances up through the ranks to become a second lieutenant. Readers learn about many of the struggles and hardships the army had to overcome. This book is also a coming-of-age book, because James learns how to deal with his former peers as he rises up through the ranks and how to handle the new responsibilities of his rank.

Two major battles of the war are discussed in this book. The first is Gettysburg, where his company had fired on their own men in the melee of battle. The second is during the fighting in the Wilderness and around Spotsylvania, where Sgt. Pease is left for dead and he finds a way to return to his company, with the aid of a family of fleeing slaves.
The author leaves out much of the gore of battle and does not glorify it. He keeps James' account free of too much bloody detail. James' account is full of rich information on the camaraderie, high-jinx, and drudgery of soldiering. He also touches on their fear, sweat, and strive. Included are illustrations, in the form of drawings by James.
In 1881, Sarah Jane Price is 14 years old. The story, which is written in the form of a diary, begins after Sarah and her university-educated itinerant father move to Broken Bow, Nebraska and he falls victim to the "black diptheria." She is currently living in Miss Kizer's rooming house. She has few funds and Miss Kizer and Reverend Lauter, traveling preacher, think she should go live in the Orphan Asylum far from Broken Bow, where girls are sent out to work 6 days a week in a clothing factory.

Instead of going to the orphanage, Sarah Jane convinces (lies to, really) the school board, that she is 16 years-old and is a viable candidate for the position of school teacher that became vacant, following her father's death. As a female and untried, she agrees to receive half the pay her father would have been paid. This is $1.00 for the average number of students in attendance/month.

The story relates her ups, her downs as a school teacher. A few members of the school board think she is unqualified to teach; they seek to catch her off-guard. She is ever vigilant to be at her best at all times and behaves accordingly. In the end, she brings her entire class to safety before a prairie blizzard destroys her sod schoolhouse.
At the conclusion of the book, there is a short chapter entitled, "Historical Note," which discusses the indigenous peoples of the plain, the immigrant settlers, and the conditions with which they lived. Black and white photographs of the time period, a pair of recipes and a poem entitled, "The Snow-Storm" by Ralph Waldo Emerson follow.
My Face to the Wind: The Diary of Sarah Jane Price, a Prairie Teacher
In the year 1874, Brian Doyle, runs away from home, signs unto the whaling ship named The Florence, and begins his journey to manhood. He leaves behind an older brother named Sean Michael and father who, when drunk, uses Brian as a punching bag.

The ship has many seasoned sailors as well as "greenies." Brian is a "greenie." Life on a whaling ship is hard - there is much work, they crew is a superstitious, violent, and angry lot. Brian learns to navigate around the ship's many personalities. The voyage down from San Francisco to Hawaii yields an abysmal harvest of two whales. The course is set for the Alaska, where the captain feels there will be better opportunity to find and kill the whales.

Traversing the Arctic Ocean in September is not for the faint of heart. Despite all efforts to keep moving, the ship becomes blocked in the ice. The entire crew leave the ship for a distant shore. After a few days on the ice, nearly all the crew members return to the Florence and hope for the ice to break.

Brian and a eight others continue their search for land, on foot, with limited supplies. When some of the men can not continue pressing onward, two pairs of men set out in pairs to find land. Brian and York reach land and find abandoned shelters. York goes back to get the men left behind and Brian presses on to find civilization. Before succumbing to hypothermia, Brian finds a whaling station at Cape Liserne. He is safe and soon the rest of his crew, those on the ice and those back on the Florence are also. Brian returns to Francisco a hero.
The author describes many of the hardships that sailors abroad whaling ships had to face. He goes into detail about the many parts of the whale that have commercial value and goes on to list the many products that are created using whale parts.

Historical information and black and white pictures are also provided in this book.

Journal of Brian Doyle: A Greenhorn on an Alaskan Whaling Ship, The, Florence, 1874
Twelve year-old Maggie Haggerty lives and works on the Erie Canal with her mother, father, brother and uncle. When the story begins, Maggie's family has a major problem. It seems that the year before, her father had lost a fight/bet with Long-fingered John, a captain of a Canadian vessel on the canal. The money owed to Long-fingered John comes to roughly the price of their boat canal barge. The family can earn their money and save their vessel if they are successful in transporting and unloading their cargo to Buffalo on-time.

But, it is not an easy journey. Her father and uncle are taken into custody by Sheriff Einhornn after a member Long-fingered John's crew is found beaten and unconscious. The trip to Buffalo is to be made without the men. In addition, it seems that her mother has come down with an ailment. (You learn later that her mother is pregnant.) But, hope is not lost, when a repentant drunk, named Billy Black volunteers to help the Haggerty family. Not only does the family manage to make it to Buffalo, they are able to unload the cargo with time to spare. And this time they use to get back down the river to watch the trial of Haggerty brothers unfold.
This is a coming-of-age book, as well as a book that teaches contentment with what you have. During the journey up the Erie, readers are presented with a myriad of characters. The author provides an in-depth narrative about how river travel along the Erie functioned.

The author includes a short chapter (6 pages) at the end of the book to with addition historical information about life on the Erie Canal. A helpful glossary of terms used in the book is also provided.

Desperate Journey
In August of the year 1793, the city of Philadelphia was invaded. Not by a foreign army looking to conquer the newly established constitutional republic. No. This invader came in the form of a yellow fever mosquito brought to America by way of a ship that had come from Santo Domingo. At first a few had died from the disease, but weather conditions were such that it quickly spread.

While many of Philadelphia's well-to-do fled the city of 51,000, many remained within the city limits.This book details the various ways Philadelphians strove to combat the disease as it spread throughout the city. The author chronologically reveals how and what steps were taken to help the sick, and by whom. The true heroes of the epidemic were those that stayed and fought to keep the city functioning as well to aid the suffering in their time of need.
This book is filled with black and white illustrations. Because photography had not been invented at the time of the plague, all depictions of key figures are black and white copies of portraits.

Though a book about a city-wide calamity, the author included many fascinating snippets about various individuals as they battled through their ordeal.
In March 1881, the eastern areas of the United States were hit by two "perfect" winter storms. The first was a northern storm, which approached from the west. Cold air and snow that originated in Canada and the mid-western states entered Pennsylvania by the afternoon of March 11th and continued eastward. The second originated in the Gulf of Mexico, jumped over the neck of Florida and traveled northward along the Atlantic coastline. This storm gathered momentum and great quantities of moisture as it continued its path.

These two weather fronts would eventually converge in the northeastern part of the country that stretched from Delaware to Maine

This book provides many stories of those who did and did not survive the Great Blizzard - centering mainly in New York City. Included are:
A newspaperman doing a story on the pilot boats in New York Harbor
Children who braved the snow to get to school
Factory workers who fought the weather to get to work - lest they lose their jobs
Commuters stuck in train cars that were either derailed or stuck in the snow
A store worker who had erroneously overstocked the store with 3,000 snow shovels
A young girl who died from hypothermia after the train car she is riding in derails and catches on fire) three miles from the nearest town.

It also describes how the nation was paralyzed by the storm. President Grover Cleveland was stranded (and unreachable) far from Washington D.C. Washington D.C. was just like the other cities affected by this storm. The blizzard did not just leave many the people stranded. Many who were able to find shelter from the ravages of the storm found themselves without food or heat, as many lived day-to-day and there was no way to purchase such necessities. It explains the efforts made by the president of the New York Central Railroad to get the trains moving

Along with the descriptions of the blizzard's devastation, the book also explains what steps were taken to prevent such a tragedy from happening in the future. The National Weather Service would be open seven days a week, it would no longer close on the Sabbath. The electric wires that broke as a result of the heavy snow and damaging winds would be put under the ground (as the law had required). Additionally, Alfred Ely Beach, would see his vision of an underground railway system (the subway) become a reality not just in Manhattan, but in many American cities.
The author uses personal accounts and newspaper articles to weave this highly descriptive book. Included are photographs and etchings to illustrate the devastation.

The Continental Army that fought for American independence is not comprised of seasoned warriors. American troops are made up of old and young men, who no longer want to live under English tyranny and rule. This non-fiction book recounts the experiences of one young soldier from Connecticut named Joseph Plumb Martin. He becomes a soldier shortly after his 15th birthday in July of 1776. All the information from this book comes from his memoirs, which describes his hard life in the army. There is much to plague the Continentals, the list includes: food shortages, Tories, the cold, lack of supplies and no pay. He remains a soldier throughout the entire war.

At the beginning of the war, he engages the enemy in Brooklyn to allow Washington and his troops in their retreat across the Hudson. After spending time confronting the British on the island, his company meets up with Washington's troops during the Battle of Germantown. He is one of the 2,000 men who suffers through the winter in Valley Forge and fights at the Battle of Princeton. He bears witness to the final victory that followed the siege at Yorktown. After Cornwallis' surrender, Joseph leaves the army at the age of 22 and settles in Maine. He marries and has five children. He is never prosperous. At the age of 58, he is forced to apply for a pension (for needy Revolutionary War veterans) from the army, which amounted to $8/month. His application is approved. He dies in 1850 and is buried in Prospect, Maine. His monument reads, "A Soldier of the Revolution."
Along with retelling Joseph's story, the author includes other historical information. The book is filled with etching from the time, which offer additional information to the reader. A brief, easy-to-follow chronology of the American Revolution is provided at the back of the book.
Tuberculosis has been a surge for mankind since before homo sapiens walked the earth. It is a debilitating disease that attacks the body's organs. It is not exclusive to the lungs.

This non-fiction book details the work throughout history by those in and out of the medical field to eradicate the disease. The earliest methods for treating this disease included: the King's touch, blood letting to balance the body's "humors", quackery and poisons.

Advancements and failures in eradicating this disease are examined.The authors describe how common medical items and medicines, such as the thermometer, the stethoscope, the x-ray, the BCG vaccine and antibiotics, were developed and used. It details how various doctors and researchers strove to find the cure. Many times, the cure proved more fatal to the patient.

Poverty, bigotry and anti-immigration policies throughout history are detailed in a chapter entitled, "The Outsiders." Many of the same fearful arguments against immigration that were expounded then are still being heard in today's rhetoric.

One of the more interesting stories in this book involves chickens belonging to a New Jersey farmer. He brought his chickens who had trouble breathing to an Agricultural school at Rutgers University. By taking samples from the chickens' throats, a ground mold was discovered. From this ground mold, scientists were able to develop Streptomycin. This proved to be a strong antibiotic to fight TB.

The authors of the book conclude by telling their readers that the fight against TB is not won. The disease is not eradicated. It is only through constant vigilance that TB (a "superbug" that is resilient to single medical treatments because it keeps evolving) can be contained. The fight for a complete cure continues.


This book is filled with black and white images, photographs, political propaganda and advertisements for medical relief. A bibliography and source notes are included in the text.
This book was co-authored by Alison Blank
A blizzard is a snow storm with temperatures 20 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and winds of at least 35 mph.

The Blizzard of 1888's temperatures went below zero and its winds were between 75 - 85 mph. (Murphy, 25

This book provides a great amount of information about the Great Chicago Fire that decimated most of that city within two days time. Contained within the pages are tales of valor, tales of ineptitude, fearful tales and tales of woe. The book retells the events from the perspective of various people, who lived through those days of terror. As a reader progresses through the chapters, the fire grows accordingly. (Periodically, a two-page street map is presented which highlights the spread of the fire to the text in the book.)

The great Chicago fire started on Sunday night, October 8, 1871 at approximately 8:30 pm. The fire began inside the barn filled with dairy cows belonging to Mr. and Mrs. O'Leary, at a time when the hard-working family had already been abed.

Throughout the course of the book, the author reveals the many reasons why the fire was able to take hold of the city:
the day before the fire, there had been another large fire. The firemen who battled Sunday's fire were working without any (or very little) sleep
the buildings were made of wood; they were not fireproof
there were heavy winds that fed the fire and pushed it
the fire alarms bells were providing incorrect directional information
the fire was able to knock out the water supply to fight the fire

Many of the illustrations are taken from the author's personal collection. This retelling of the Chicago fire does not vilify the O'Learys. Mr. Murphy offers an unbiased, well-researched perspective. Not only was it highly informative, the author once again adds his flair with highly descriptive adjectives which seem to place the reader within the flames and among the ruins after the blaze is extinguished.
When Rat was young, his father told him that he would be punished if he ever uses the word, "please". Rats are supposed to be mean and impolite. They are supposed to be bullies. Young Rat grows up to be just that - a bully. He abuses all the forest animals he meets. This includes a Bear, Mole, Squirrel and Mouse.

One day, Rat goes to Mouse's house and discovers that Mouse is preparing for a Christmas party. Rat takes Mouse and all the Christmas decorations, food, and drinks back to his house. A note to the guests is left behind. "Mouse's Christmas party will be at Rat's place. Mouse is with me so be there by 7 o'clock. Or else. Sincerely, Rat"

At Rat's place, the food is set out. Vinegar is added to the punch, hot pepper to the food. When the quests arrive, they are treated to Rat's rude behavior. When Rat tries to destroy a gift by jumping on it, he is bounced into the punchbowl. (The gift was a rubber ball.) Rat is stuck in the bowl. Rat looks silly, and his guests poke fun at him. They gather up all the items that he had taken over the years and treat themselves to a jolly holiday. All learn the best way to handle a bully is with a unified front. The animals leave Rat where he is and go back to Mouse's house to celebrate.

Baffling & Bizarre Inventions
Young Adult Non-Fiction Books
Children's Fiction

Breakthrough!: How Three People Saved "Blue Babies" and Changed Medicine Forever Hardcover – December 8, 2015. (2015, January 1). Retrieved April 26, 2015, from http://www.amazon.com/Breakthrough-People-Changed-Medicine-Forever/dp/0547821832/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1430089712&sr=8-4&keywords=breakthrough how people

The Indy 500. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2015, from http://www.worldcat.org/title/indy-500/oclc/9323507
Children's Non-Fiction Books
Alas, this book by Jim Murphy is an example of the CREW method in action.

In WorldCat, there are 168 copies available. One copy is available in New Zealand and another in Canada; the rest are cataloged within the United States. There are only 2 in New Jersey.

I was unable to get a copy of this book.

The summary written in WorldCat for this book reads, "Takes the reader through an Indy 500, including the crash of one of the cars. Discusses the car, track, pit crew, etc."

The Holdings in WorldCat
While most of the states averaged 1 copy within the state, the following states had comparably more copies: IL 32, IN 15, NY 15, KS 13, CA 12, KY 9, NC 9, FL 7 and GA 6.
From these numbers, it is easy to see that this book still has relevance as a historical book for children about the Indy 500 in states (in and near) where the race takes place annually. It is also relevant in states, whose population enjoy car-racing.
The Indy 500
Children's Picture and
Easy-Reader Books
Illustrated by:
Dick Gackenbach
Illustrated by:
Susanna Natti
Illustrated by:
Mark Alan Weatherby
Illustrated by:
Mark Alan Weatherby
Illustrated by:
Mark Alan Weatherby
Illustrated by:
Jeffery Greene
Illustrated by:
Kate Keisler
Illustrated by:
John Manders
Lou Gehrig
Eddie Collins
Joe Cronin
Brooks Robinson
Babe Ruth
Ty Cobb
Ted Williams
Bill Dickey
Eddie Plank
Walter Johnson
Lefty Grove
Whitey Ford
Jim Palmer

Bill Terry
Rogers Hornsby
Honus Wagner
Pie Traynor
Stan Musial
Willie Mays
Hank Aaron
Johnny Bench
Grover Cleveland Alexander
Christy Mathewson
Bob Gibson
Sandy Kofax
Tom Seaver
Though the book was published over 30 years ago, it does provide some simple, interesting biographic tidbits of information on some of baseball's by-gone players. It introduces children to some of baseball's best.
Technical Consultant:
Tom Walsh
Volume in the
"Dear America" Series
font -type: 12 & 14 pt. Palatino
Contains black and white drawings
Readers are advised (in the Afterword) to write the Superintendent of Documents (address listed) for more information in the form of pamphlets about the patent process
last page shows ad for a "Johnny Lift" -- only $24.95
font-type - unknown - easier to read
Contains color drawings
Readers are advised (in the Afterword)to get more information about the patent process by going to the Government Printing Office's official website.
No "Johnny Lift"
The chapters in these books are entitled:
The Animal Kingdom
What You Wear
Getting Around
Fun and Games
Personal Hygiene
Odds and Ends
Handful of Stories
An Afterword
In the final chapter, Handful of Stories, the author offers five stories of inventors and inventions.
These include:
Benjamin Franklin and his various inventions
John Fitch and his steam engine
Catherine Beecher who innovated the "kitchen"
The evolution of Braille books
Arthur Rayment who tried to create a crab-picking robot
Some of the inventions included in this book are: an overcoat for two people, a dance partner, a beard grinder, and a combination bustle and stool for the ladies.
Weird & Wacky Inventions
Weird and Wacky Inventions was written in 1978. An updated version was re-issued in 2011

These books are fun to read. Each page within each chapter contains a picture of an odd, bizarre, patented invention and asks the reader to decide which answer (among three or four listed) correctly describes the purpose of each invention pictured. A few sentences to describe the invention's workings along with a subtle hint is also provided.

With a flip of the page, the reader is presented the correct answer and a paragraph to explain what problem the inventor hoped to solve with his invention.
font -type: 12 & 14 pt. Palatino
Contains black and white drawings
No "you can learn more" information is provided in the paragraph about the safety pin at the end of the book
font-type - unknown - easier to read
Contains color drawings
On the final page, where the author writes about the safety pin, he offers readers a government web address to learn more.
The chapters in these books are entitled:
From the Neck Up
Something to Wear
Half-Baked Helpers
Household Odds and Ends
Personal Hygiene
Down on the Farm
Getting Around
Self-Improvement Whether You Want
to or Not
One Thing Leads to Another
Some of the inventions included in this book are: a grapefruit shield, an eye protector for chickens, a used gum receptacle, a bird diaper, and a portable bathtub that looks strangely like a giant water bottle.
In the final chapter, entitled, "One Thing Leads to Another," this chapter provides information about how through innovation, a simple idea or invention can lead to more inventions. The two ideas or inventions highlighted in this section are the velocipede which becomes the bicycle and the bellows which eventually lead to the creation of the vacuum cleaner.
Young Adult Fiction
The battle that was waged across the Antietam Creek was not only one of the bloodiest battles fought during the American Civil War, the outcome of the battle carried great political importance. For the Union, a victory of any kind, would allow the president to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. (He needed to secure victory in order to change the purpose of the war from a fight for state's rights to fight to end slavery. A victory, he felt, would garner him the necessary support of the American people to continue the war.) For the Confederacy, victory would convince France and England to get off the diplomatic "fence" and recognize the Confederate states as a separate nation. With this recognition, the Confederacy would gain their military assistance in the war.

The book is filled with historical information about the war and battles fought, that led to the confrontation at Antietam. Military strategies, and plots are discussed. The author writes about the military prowess (and lack thereof) of the generals engaged in battle. The author describes the personality, political, and military clashes of opinion between General McClellan and President Lincoln. The author acknowledges McClellan's failure to continue the battle with Lee's retreating army is a reason the war was able to continue longer than it should have.
The author uses quotes from soldiers at Antietam to describe the conditions. Each page seems peppered with quotes , which help to personalize the events for the reader. Black and white stills of the combatants, (1) one photograph of the carnage, drawings of the field, and maps of the troop movements are included. Author's notes and sources are included at the end of the book.

A Savage Thunder:
Antietam and the Blood Road to Freedom
Here's an interesting fact from the book.

King George III was 27 years old when he enacted the Stamp Act in 1765.
Volume in the
"Dear America" Series
Volume in the
"Dear America" Series
Volume in the
"Dear America" Series
Soon after the Italian government lifted its rigid restrictions, Pascal D'Angelo and his father left the rest of the family and emigrated to America. The year was 1910, Pascal was 16 years old. The plan was to set themselves up in the land of promise and send money back to the impoverished family back in Italy.

The book describes their hard trek across country from the Abruzzi region to Naples and then their even more arduous Atlantic voyage as steerage passengers. The process of passing the rigorous health and mental tests before their voyage in Naples and afterward on Ellis Island is detailed.

Once the pair are admitted into America, they became workers of the lowest class. They found work as day laborers; they became diggers. Prejudice and discrimination was everywhere. Italians were called "wops" and "dagoes". (At this time: the average white American male earned, $666/yr, the average African-American male earned $455/yr and the average Italian earned $445/yr. (Murphy, pg. 63))

Over the course of several years, he and his father could barely make ends meet. The work was brutal. When the economy became depressed, there it was hard to find any work. His father chose to return to Italy, broken in body and spirit. Pascal chose to stay. Pascal began the task of teaching himself English. He would buy one newspaper a week and pick out the words he knew. He would question others what words meant and slowly began to increase his vocabulary. A trip to the Edgewater (NJ)Library would introduce Pascal to the masters of English poetry. (His poetic style would eventually match the masters from whom he learned.)

He wrote poetry continuously. He devoted his life to writing poetry. It took many years before he sold his first works. The stress of hard-labor and a life devoted to his craft left him in poor health. He died in 1932 at the age of 38, his body unable to fight an infection following an appendectomy.
Pick & Shovel Poet: The Journey of Pascal D'Angelo
In the summer of 1879, 29 year old, (yet unaccomplished writer) Robert Louis Stevenson receives a cable that tells him that Fanny has brain fever. He must get to her. Fanny is ten years his senior, married, and thousands of miles from him. When he gets the news, he is in Glasgow, Scotland and she is in San Francisco, USA. Despite Victorian convention, she is his love and he sets off with $200 in his pocket to get to her.

He boards the Devonia as a second-class passenger. The 10-day trip had bad weather most of the days, his food consists of scraps left over from the meals of first-class passengers. When the sun finally shines, he is able to meet many of the steerage passengers on deck and is surprised to learn that most were families with small children.

From the Devonia, he begins his transcontinental trek by train to California. The author describes the hardships of traveling on immigrant trains. Immigrant trains are little better than cattle trains; the passengers are treated as such. The accommodations are cramped; by the end of the journey most passengers will suffer food poisoning. Rail travel is hazardous; the author describes the dangers faced along the route, including fire, head-on collisions with other trains, snow, and trains that lose the ability to brake. The author also provides information about the many immigrants (especially Chinese) who helped to build the railroad.

By the time he arrives in San Francisco, Fanny is in good health, but the travel has caused Stevenson life-long health issues. It will shorten his life, for he had contracted Tuberculosis along his immigrant route. But, his travels will also provide him the necessary maturity to hone his writing craft and become successful. (After Fanny gets her divorce, she does become Robert's wife.)
Across America on an Emigrant Train
Death Run
Washington Crossing the Delaware
(see above)
is historically inaccurate.
The book is filled with black and white photographs of the giant, the men involved in the story and images of other hoaxes through the years.
The book begins on the morning of November 19, 1863, in Gettysburg, PA., where 20,000 men, women and children await a dedication ceremony of a battlefield. All present are anxious to hear the first speaker. He is a famous orator named Edward Everett; his speech will continue for 1 hour and 55 minutes. There is one other dignitary at the ceremony. His thoughts about the Civil War and his part in it, transition the story from dedication ceremony to the military actions that brought the two sides together.

The book is about the military tactics that brought the fight into Pennsylvania. General Robert E. Lee wanted to advance his troops into Northern territory and place the North on the defensive. It is also about the Union's attempt to turn Lee back.

Three days before the battle, the command of the Northern Army is taken from Major General Joseph Hooker and given to General Meade, whom his troops called a "goggle-eyed snapping turtle."( Murphy, pg.32) Major General Joseph Hooker was replaced because he was too cautious and repeatedly failed to take any action against the enemy.

The fighting would last three days, July 1-3, 1863. Divisions of Northern troops were led by Major General Warren, Major General Reynolds, and Major General Buford. Southern troops were led by General Robert E. Lee, General George Pickett, General James Longstreet, and General J.E.B. Stuart. The fighting was massive. Casualties on both sides were astronomical. The North was able to defeat the South and send them back into Confederate territory. The South never returned.

After the battle was over and the armies moved on, there were still thousands of bodies to be buried. Sixteen acres of battlefield was purchased for $2,475.87 to create a National Soldiers Cemetery.

The final chapter discusses the speech of the second orator at the cemetery's dedication. His speech will consist of 269 words; and though it is ill- received when first delivered it will be read, studied and pondered by generations of Americans. This speech in the Gettysburg Address. The speaker was President Abraham Lincoln.

The author allows the reader to get a closer look at the three days fighting, by providing first hand accounts by two soldiers, who fought and survived the battle. The first is Corporal Thomas Galway, a 17-year old in the Union Army. The other perspective comes from Lieutenant John Dooley, a 19 year-old in the Confederate Army. Corporal Galway would survive the battle unharmed; Lt. Dooley was wounded in the battle and sent to the prisoner of war camp, Fort McHenry.

The book is filled with black and white photographs, detailed maps that indicate troop movements, and sketches.

This book provides a very interesting perspective into the life and character of Benedict Arnold. After reading this book, I could not help but wonder, how History could have been so different, had he gotten the credit he had deserved. The author relates a well-documented story and provides sound reasoning for the possible causes for Arnold's treachery.
The book is filled with black & white photographs and illustrations from the time-period, which illustrate the conditions of travel and the numbers and types of passengers heading westward to find a new life. Many of the quotes come from Stevenson's
Across the Plains
, written in 1892.
There is one photograph, I found most interesting. Lincoln and McClellan in conference under a tent, after the battle. You can read the disdain McClellan had for the president on his face. You can also see Lincoln doesn't care.
The action in this story shifts between three main characters: Brian, Detective Sgt. Wheeler and the detective's teen-age daughter, Susan.

At dusk in a park in Edgewater, four freshman, Brian, Roger, Sticks and Al are hanging out, chugging down beers that had been shoplifted from a nearby delicatessen. They have too much time on the hands, and are indecisive about how to amuse themselves. Along comes a senior, named William Jankowsi. After the boys grab Jankowski's basketball, they begin a game of "keep away." When Roger throws the ball, it accidentally hits William hard in the head. He lands on the asphalt, convulses and drops. The boys flee.

Det. Sgt. Wheeler is called in to investigate. He knows there is more to this incident than just a dead epileptic boy. Despite bureaucratic pressure to close the case, by labeling it: death by natural causes, the detective continues to tenaciously track down leads.

Susan, gets involved in the case. She and a few of her friends begin to ask questions about Jankowski. Through her investigation, she learns that the senior had had an altercation with another student earlier in the year. (This student, she discovers, was Sticks.)

Brian is a central character. His feelings of remorse, worry and fear are central to this book After the incident, the four boys pair off. Brian and Sticks grow closer; Roger and Al do likewise. Because Roger is the one that threw the ball, he has the most to lose. He and Al grab Susan in the hall. They grab her from behind and cover her with her coat. After beating her, one boy purposely calls the other one, "Sticks", to an attempt to draw attention away from themselves and place it on the other two boys.

Things begin to break in the investigation. After Susan's beating the case is re-opened. Susan's friend finds a clue of Roger's left-handedness and is able to connect him to the original crime. Sticks skips town, with Brian's help. Before any of the boys are apprehended, Brian walks up to Det. Sgt. Wheeler's house and knocks on the door. When the detective answers the door, Brian introduces himself and says, "I think we should talk,." The story ends.
This was a fast-paced novel. In addition, the author allows readers to understand the emotional weight experienced by the the detective and Brian. After completing, a reader will certainly be left contemplating how small misjudgments can snowball into big trouble.
Along with many historical facts about the hardships faced by Italian immigrants at the beginning of the 20th century, this is a book about hope and the power of education.
The book contains black and white photographs of Pascal and other immigrants. A bibliography and source list is included. Intermingled within the book are poems by Pascal D'Angelo.
Jim Murphy has written Fiction and Non-fiction. His audience is not limited to Young Adults. His has also created works for young children and preteens.

In this Prezi, you will find I have separated these works by age of readership. The books within each grouping are organized from earliest publication to most recent.

Please note, I was unable to read two of the books in this study. One has not been released. The other, I was unable to obtain.

Following various book presentations, there is a listing of the author's awards and honors for that book.

A bibliography of his works is also included.
An American Plague

2004 ALA. Newbery Honor Book Award
2004 ALA. Robert F. Sibert Informational
Book Award
National Book Award Finalist Medal
NCTE Orbis Pictus Award
An ALA Notable Children’s Book

A YALSA Best Book for Young Adults
A SLJ Best Book of the Year
Blue Ribbon, Bulletin of the Center for
Children’s Books
An Editor’s Choice, Kirkus Reviews

The Great Fire

1995 ALA Newbery Honor Book
NCTE Orbis Pictus Award
Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Book
The Jefferson Cup Award
A SLJ Best Book

A Booklist Editors Choice
A BCCB Blue Ribbon Book
An ALA Notable Book
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
A PW Best Book


ALA Robert F. Sibert Honor Book for Outstanding Nonfiction
The Jefferson Cup Award
An ALA Notable Book
An ALA Best Books for Young People
Hornbook Fanfare Book
A SLJ Best Book
A BCCB Blue Ribbon Book
A CBC/NCSS Notable Book


A 2010 Notable Book for a Global Society
An Editor’s Choice, Kirkus Reviews
An ALA Notable Book for Children
An ALA’s BBYA Best Book for Young Adults
A NCTE Orbis Pictus Recommended Title
Junior Literary Guild Selection
Booklist Best Books of 2009
SLJ Best Books of 2009
A BCCB Blue Ribbon Book

Invincible Microbe

Junior Literary Guild selection
AAAS/Suburu 2013 Science Book Prize Finalist
NYPL 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
Library Journal Top Nonfiction from 2012

Booklist Top 10 Science and Health Books for Youth 2012
NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book 2013
Fuse #8 Best of 2012
2012 Cybil’s Award Finalist

The Real Benedict Arnold

A SLJ Best Book of the Year
An ALA Booklist Best Biography of the Year
2008 Cream of the Crop
A CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book

A Young Patriot

A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
The Boy's War

Golden Kite Award
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
An ALA Booklist Editor’s Choice
Horn Book Fanfare

Long Road to Gettsyburg

Golden Kite Award
ALA Best Book for Young Adults
ALA Booklist Editors’ Choice
SLJ Best Book of the Year
A Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies

Savage Thunder

An ALA Best Book for 2010
A Junior Literary Guild Selection
Bank Street Best Books of the Year
CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book
Kirkus Best Young Adult Books of the Year
YASLA Amazing Audio books for 2011

Across America on an Emigant Train

NCTE Orbis Pictus Award
The Jefferson Cup Award
An ALA Notable Children’s Book
An ALA Booklist Editor’s Choice
A SLJ Best Book of the Year

Horn Book Fanfare
A Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Language Arts
A Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies
Book Links Salutes "A Few Good Books"

Inside the Alamo

ALA Best Books for Young Adults
2004-2005 Texas Tayshas Reading List


Weird and Wacky Inventions.
New York: Crown Publishers, 1978
Rat's Christmas Party.
Illus. by Dick Gackenbach. New York: Prentice-Hall, 1979.


Harold Thinks Big.
Illus. by Susanna Natti. New York: Crown Publishers, 1980
Death Run.
New York: Clarion Books, 1982.
Two Hundred Years of Bicycles.
Philadelphia, PA: J. B. Lippincott, 1983.
The Indy 500
. New York: Clarion Books, 1983.
Baseball's All-Time All-Stars.
New York: Clarion Books, 1984.
Tractors: From Yesterday's Steam Wagons to Today's Supercharged Giants.
Philadelphia, PA: J. B. Lippincott, 1984.
Guess Again: More Weird and Wacky Inventions.
New York: Bradbury Press, 1986.
The Last Dinosaur.
Illus. by Mark Alan Weatherby. New York: Scholastic, 1988.
The Call of the Wolves.
Illus. by Mark Alan Weatherby. New York: Scholastic, 1989.
Custom Car: A Nuts and Bolts Guide to Creating One.
New York: Clarion Books,


Blizzard!: The Storm that Changed America.
New York: Scholastic Press. 2000
Pick and Shovel Poet: The Journeys of Pascal D'Angelo.
New York: Clarion Books. 2000
My Face to the Wind: The Diary of Sarah Jane Price, a Prairie Teacher.
New York: Scholastic. 2001
An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793
. New York: Clarion Books, 2003
Inside the Alamo.
New York: Delacorte Press. 2003
Journal of Brian Doyle: A Greenhorn on an Alaskan Whaling Ship.
New York: Scholastic. 2004.
Desperate Journey.
New York: Scholastic. 2006
Fergus and the Night-Demon: an Irish Ghost Story.
Illus. by John Manders. New York: Clarion Books, 2006
The Real Benedict Arnold.
New York: Clarion Books, 2007.
A Savage Thunder: Antietam and the Bloody Road to Freedom.
New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books. 2009
uce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting.
New York: Scholastic Press. 2009


The crossing: How George Washington Saved the American Revolution.
New York: Scholastic Press. 2010
Baffling and Bizarre Inventions.
New York: Sky Pony Press. 2011
Weird and Wacky Inventions.
New York: Sky Pony Press. 2011
The Giant and How He Humbugged America.
New York: Scholastic, 2012
Invincible microbe: Tuberculosis and the Never-ending Search for a Cure
. Boston: Clarion Books. 2012


The Boys' War: Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War.
New York: Clarion Books, 1991.
The Long Road to Gettysburg.
New York: Clarion Books, 1992.
Dinosaur for a Day.
Illus. by Mark Alan Weatherby. New York: Scholastic, 1992.
cross America on an Emigrant Train.
New York: Clarion Books, 1993.
Backyard Bear.
Illus. by Jeffery Greene. New York: Scholastic, 1993.
Night Terrors.
New York: Scholastic, 1994.
The Great Fire.
New York: Scholastic, 1995.
Into the Deep Forest with Henry David Thoreau.
Illus. by Kate Keisler, New York: Clarion Books, 1995
A Young Patriot: The American Revolution as Experience by One Boy.
New York: Clarion Books, 1996.
Gone A-Whaling: The Lure of the Sea and the Hunt for the Great Whale.
New York: Clarion Books, 1998.
The Journal of James Edmond Pease, a Civil War Soldier.
New York: Scholastic. 1998
West to a Land of Plenty: The Diary of Teresa Angelina Viscardi.
New York: Scholastic: 1998
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