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Just Fine the Way They Are: From Dirt Roads to Rail Roads to Interstates

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Written By: Connie Nordhielm Woodridge

Illustrated by: Richard Walz

Change. Who needs it? We do! Mr. John Slack, the keeper of a tavern beside a rutted dirt road in the early 1800s, thought things were just fine the way they were. So did Lucius Stockton who ran the National Road Stage Company in the mid 1800s. So too, did the owners of the railroads when the first model T appeared in 1908. Yet with each new innovation, Americans were able to move around the country more quickly, efficiently, and comfortably. Connie Woolbridge offers an informative, yet light-hearted look at how the dirt roads of the early 1800s evolved into the present-day U.S. highway system. Richard Walz's gorgeous paintings capture both the broad sweep and the individual impact of change and progress.

Goodreads Summary

            This fun and educational picture book teaches children the history of transportation in America.  Beginning with dirt roads and the introduction of the National Road… then ending with a look to the future, Just Fine the Way They Are is an enjoyable way to educate children about how the transportation system connected America.   The book takes the reader through the building of the National Road, the creation of railroads, the introduction of automobiles, highways, and interstates.  This book ends with a message about the damage these forms of transportation have had on the environment and a hope for cleaner forms of getting around.  Just Fine the Way They Are is simply worded with colorful, charming illustrations.

            The author introduces humor into history with characters who vehemently state that “things were just fine the way they were.”  Luckily, enterprising, inventive Americans thought transportation could be improved.  Now, some Americans might not see a need for improvement, but resourceful people are changing transportation again with fuel made from corn and cars powered by batteries.  What will come next?  Just Fine the Way They Are teaches children to look forward to change and respect the environment.  This picture book helps children to imagine a better world and more convenient transportation!

            Any grade school age child would like to read this book.  Wonderful illustrations show the history of America in an engaging way.  Just Fine the Way They Are: From Dirt Roads to Rail Roads to Interstates is a lesson full of history, ingenuity, and optimism.

5 Stars