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Suitable for 9 - 14 years

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Product Description

Marooned in the dusty Oklahoma prairie, Cissy and the other stout-hearted settlers toil to make the desert flower. They have staked their hearts, as well as hard years of labour, on making their much-loved town of Florence blossom and prosper. Florence has one lifeline to the outside world – the railway track. But when the townspeople invoke the wrath of a villainous and greedy railroad baron, Clifford T. Rimm, he spitefully decides to make the trains bypass Florence. Does this mean that the little town will wither and die, almost before it’s come to life? Not if Cissy and the others can help it. They’re going to stop the train – whatever it takes!

“An absolutely wonderful book – it is no wonder that McCaughrean is celebrated as one of the greatest living children’s authors.” The Bookseller

“A tense, fast-moving adventure story, sustained to the very last page, with an inspiring sense of community spirit.” Financial Times

“The work of a great writer which will move readers to tears and laughter. I cannot recommend it strongly enough.” TES

Product Details






Oxford University Press

Date published

October 4th, 2007

Accelerated Reader

AR book level: 6.4; Upper years; 11.0 points

Other details
  • 256 pages


UK edition


Geraldine McCaughrean

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Geraldine McCaughrean was born and educated in Enfield, North London, the third and youngest child of a fireman and a teacher. She attended Christ Church College of Education but instead of teaching chose to work for a magazine publishing house. Her favourite assignments included the best-selling children’s partworks Storyteller and Little Storyteller. Only in 1988 did she become a full-time writer. Since then, Geraldine has established herself as one of the most exciting children’s writer’s today.

She often visits nearby schools to talk about being a writer and play story-making games, and, of course, to find out what the really important people – the readers – are thinking.

In 2004, the Great Ormond Street Hospital trustees launched the search for an author to write the sequel to J.M. Barrie’s classic children’s novel Peter Pan. Geraldine was chosen from over 200 applicants, and Peter Pan in Scarlet became a bestseller in 2006.

Geraldine and her husband John live in Berkshire and have one teenage daughter, Ailsa. In all, Geraldine has written over 140 books, mostly for children, as well as plays and poetry, and has been published in 25 languages.


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