Friday, February 19, 2016

Jackrabbit McCabe & the Electric Telegraph

By Lucy Margaret Rozier and Leo Espinosa
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2015, Picture Book

Jackrabbit McCabe was born to run, and fast. As a boy his legs grew so quickly that his pants would become shorts by the end of the day. By the time he was eighteen years old Jackrabbit had out-raced everything in the town of Windy Flats, including locomotives, horses, and even a stagecoach. Everyone in town knew they could count on Jackrabbit when they needed something delivered, so many were doubtful when a "newfangled contraption", the electric telegraph, was installed claiming to deliver messages faster than mail, and Jackrabbit. After overhearing the town mayor and judge express their doubts, the telegraph man proposed a race between Jackrabbit and the wires. The first to get a message to the nearby town of Sandy Bluff would win. The town all gathered to cheer on Jackrabbit, but despite running so fast that he "roared like a tornado", he looses the race. Jackrabbit feels down in the dumps and unsure of what his role in the town will be now, until he's offered the position of the telegraph operator. Jackrabbit quickly becomes just as fast on the telegraph keys as he is on his feet.

Jackrabbit McCabe & the Electric Telegraph is a fun read that mixes adventure and history in an appealing and captivating story. The illustrations by Espinosa do a great job capturing the essence of a 1900's western town and bring it to life with wonderfully unique characters. Readers even have the opportunity at the end to decode a message in Morse code, along with an authors note with interesting facts about the history of the electric telegraph and Morse code, sure to be a bit hit as a fun way for young readers to learn from the story.

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