In these lushly illustrated watercolor and collage images, Ransome effectively captures the boys’ kinship amid the senseless, racist Jim Crow laws that separate them. The bucolic landscape outside the train’s windows sharply conflicts with the train conductor’s removal of Michael from the White car. Backmatter addresses the laws that created this unjust travel condition, beginning in 1887 with the Interstate Commerce Act…Painful history portrayed honestly and beautifully to help children understand the very personal impact of racism.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
The team behind Granddaddy’s Turn introduces readers to the cruelty of U.S. segregation through the eyes of a child…Vivid, tightly focused watercolor portraits by Ransome straightforwardly convey the racist policy’s effect on two children, and Bandy and Stein let Michael draw his own thoughtful conclusions in this narrative: “It just didn’t make any sense at all.”
—Publishers Weekly Online (starred review)
Ransome’s watercolor scenes balance the details of train travel that so excited the characters (and will doubtless intrigue even a current Amtrak audience), with understated tracking of the boys’ unfolding friendship…This is a good discussion starter for young listeners who may confront lines not of their making and mixed messages about crossing them.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
In this picture book set in the 1960s (and inspired by the author’s childhood memories), Michael and his granddaddy are fascinated by the powerful trains that rush by their Alabama farm going North…In his signature watercolor style with collage, Ransome perfectly delivers the wonderment of a boy’s first train ride with beautifully rendered picturesque landscapes, and sensitively captures the innocence of children whose friendship defies the unjust laws of segregation. The author’s note provides brief context for the story, beginning with the 1887 Interstate Commerce Act that regulated railway transportation across state lines.
—The Horn Book