Saturday, October 11, 2014

Scholastic Fest: #15, By Secret Railway

  • Title: By Secret Railway
  • Author: Enid LaMonte Meadowcroft (1898–1966)
  • Illustrator: Dom Lupo
  • Publisher: Scholastic Book Services
  • Year: First printing, January 1963
  • Excerpt:
    "Footsteps creaked across the barn floor. Bill began to whistle 'Dixie' under his breath. Jim stirred in the hay and made a little noise in his sleep. And David, who was wishing with all his heart that Bill would get out of the barn, so that he and Jim might sneak away, smothered a sneeze. Just at that moment Mr. Peck's voice came from the direction of the barn door. He sounded bewildered and a little disturbed."
  • Notes: This is the Scholastic version of the 1948 hardcover published by Thomas Y. Crowell Company. ... In addition to this volume about the Underground Railroad, Meadowcroft wrote a number of historical fiction titles aimed at juveniles, including books about George Washington, Davy Crockett, Crazy Horse, Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin and the Erie Canal. has a little bit about the life of Meadowcroft. Here's an excerpt:
    "[Meadowcroft] hated history as a student — it consisted, she believed, of 'dull stuff' such as 'wars, politics, and dates.' But later, as a teacher, she discovered that history could also be 'a story of people' and 'because I like people I could not get enough of it.' She embarked on a new career, writing history books for young people, including the novel Silver For General Washington, an adventure story set in the American Revolutionary War, published in 1944 and widely read for years. ... Meadowcroft contracted hepatitis in 1966 while traveling in Greece doing research for a children’s book about the ancient world; she died of the disease on Nov. 23, 1966. Her books live on, but barely — many or most of them are out-of-print."
    Meanwhile, Illustrator Domenic “Dom” Joseph Lupo lived from 1919 to 2013. According to this obituary, he was born in Massachusetts, served with the Marines during World War II, was an avid tennis player, did some of his most noted artwork as the lead illustrator for Golf Magazine for a quarter-century, and had a dog named Binky. He and his wife also dealt with this devastating event late in his life:
    "In 2003, Dom and Maxine's house was lost completely in the San Diego cedar fire where they lost everything, including all of Dom's beautiful paintings. Their strength and determination, however, got them through that difficult time and they rebuilt their home exactly as it was. When Dom retired from illustrating, he continued to enjoy the world of art by doing watercolors and portraits. 'I've made a living out of something I love that they've paid me to do.' Dom woke up every morning with a smile and so much enthusiasm to tackle the day. It was a true gift that he passed on to his family."

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