The Great Railroad Race

Written by Kristiana Gregory

Reviewed by Kenton Q. (age 10)

The Great Railroad Race is a story about a 14-year-old girl named, Libby. It takes place in 1868 on Utah territory. Libby's father writes newspaper storys about the the Great Railroad Race. They follow the tracks and they would keep going toward more tracks as they were built. Libby meets a friend that is wealthy. Her name is Ellie. There are both fun and sad parts of this story. Libby keeps a diary where she writes experiences of her life during the building of the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific railroads.

On August 4th, President Johnson signed an act of Congress. It made Wyoming territory part of the United States of America. Libby caught up with the Union Pacific work train. They had moved camp to follow the railroad and they ended up at Fort Bridger. People got paid $18,000 to $45,000 per mile.

They camp near the tracks and they lay 10 miles of track a day. Libby's friend, Ellie, took care of Joe while Libby's mother was sick. A little boy put a penny on the tracks and when the train came by, the penny hit the boy's head and he died. Libby likes Pete and she hopes that she would get to be Pete's bride. Libby tells the story of her life in a diary from 1868 to 1869. I thought it was true, but it was fiction. It was based on history, though. The Epilogue said that Libby married Pete after her 17th birthday.

If I had written this book, I would have changed it because it gets confusing reading someone elses diary. My favorite part is when they show pictures because it shows what happens in that time. It also helps to understand the story. My favorite character is Libby West, because she tells about what happened. I also learned a lot about her life and came to like her. My least favorite character is Mrs. Cotton, because she got angry at Libby because she didn't like her father's articles. But, this had nothing to do with Libby.

The story related to my life because we both have to work hard and we go through many hardships. She complained about her little brother getting away with everything. She also complained about studying and I do, too. I don't think everyone should read this book. Maybe, it would be best for people who enjoy historic times. They would like it.

Kenton Q. is a student in Mrs. Okamura's 5th Grade Class
2008-2009