A rich, historical time-travel novel set in the 1930's of Cairo, Illinois. I read this as a galley, and did not get to see all of the wonderful illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline, and none of them in color. I can only imagine how much this is going to add to the reading experience. Ibatoulline is a magnificent illustrator, and captures scenes from the novel with exquisite charm and skill. Rosemary Wells weaves a fanciful tale that remains vivid and interesting, even when describing the turbulence of the depression era. Anchored by Lionel trains, with references to real people, make this novel a good teaching tool, or a read-aloud treat for parents. A pivotal time in American history which echoes with our recent economic challenges, On the Blue Comet is an excellent reflection for middle graders of a similar episode in our American past.