The Glorious Adventures of the Sunshine Queen (Anglais)
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Description du produit
Revue de presse
“Cissy is a wonderful creation: inquisitive and adventurous. . . The ensemble cast of characters fairly brims with quirky, original characterization in this warmhearted paean to the milieu of Mark Twain and the tall tales of the American West.” (The Horn Book)
“Pirates carouse, boilers explode, gamblers swindle, and Cissy and company meet each encounter with equal parts luck and pluck. McCaughrean invests her characters with humanity and shows a farcical sense for dialogue, while her arch narrative voice, with its theatrical vocabulary and clever turns of phrase, is a delight.” (Booklist)
“Those readers who like their adventures with heavy doses of plot twists and tomfoolery will be smitten.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Praise for The Death-Defying Pepper Roux: “[A] laugh-out-loud funny, picaresque adventure . . . poignant, odd, wonderfully composed and vastly entertaining.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“The whole is a more whimsical, French cousin to Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book (2008), with a similar sort of timelessly classic feel.” (Booklist (starred review))
“This novel will be savored.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“Creating vivid characters is just one of McCaughrean’s gifts. Readers will root for Pepper to get the ending he deserves—a happy one.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“[T]horoughly entertaining. It’s McCaughrean’s way with language that establish[es] this picaresque tale as the latest evidence that she is one of the more remarkable novelists writing for children today.” (The Horn Book) --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .
Présentation de l'éditeur
Ever since the magnificent Miss Loucien gave up teaching to join the Bright Lights Theater Company, school days have lacked a certain . . . drama . . . especially for Cissy, who longs for a life in show business, and Kookie, who craves adventure. But when a diphtheria outbreak interrupts the dull routine, Cissy and Kookie are evacuated to the doubtful safety of the Bright Lights’ summer home—a shipwrecked paddle steamer on the flooded Missouri River.
Thus begins a wild and unpredictable journey downstream serving up grand performances, aggrieved river gamblers, irate lawmen, and perilous races. And when at long last Cissy steps into the limelight, the stakes are higher than she ever imagined.
Renowned storyteller Geraldine McCaughrean weaves a rip-roaring adventure in this funny tale that’s chock-full of humor and heart.--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Relié .
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At first the cast of characters is a bit hard to keep track of since they have names like Cissy and Kookie and Boisenberry (which is where the handy cast of characters page comes in), but once the story is in motion, keeping track of the characters becomes easier. Each one has a distinct set of circumstances and their own personality. Thankfully, each personality is so individual and unique that you quickly forgive the sheer wackiness that abounds in the book. The book is laugh out loud funny at times as Cissy and Kookie often find themselves in situations they shouldn't and Everett has to talk his way out of problem after problem. The final situation near the end of the book seems too good to be true for a group of roving actors and musicians and McCaughrean seems to write with relish as Cissy really comes into her own to solve the problem head on.
Like many books for younger readers, there are lessons to be learned. Kookie finds out first hand what greed can do to a person and those around him and only gets out of it thanks to a quick thinking Everett and company. Cissy learns to find the strength to deal with her own problems and stand up for herself in hilarious fashion at times and even the often faint Tibbie gets some happiness in learning something new. Of course, there are other lessons to be learned as well, but I wouldn't want to go into too much detail and ruin the fun of discovery.
The Glorious Adventures of the Sunshine Queen is a heck of an entertaining read from start to finish. You know you're in for it when the book begins with an awfully spelled letter from a former teacher, but that's what makes the book so fun - the unpredictability of it all. A very enjoyable book from a very talented author; I highly recommend it.
It is a tremendously imaginative story, but sadly, we all had tremendous difficulty getting into the book itself. The characters just did not come alive. Perhaps the standards are too high, comparing it to greats like Huckleberry Finn. Both books are written in dialect and both can be hard to understand, but this book just didn't hold anybody's interest long enough to get into it. Some of the situations were so over the top that the book lacked believability.
I've returned to the book multiple times since I received it from Vine, hoping to have a more positive review, but with the huge world of literature that blesses the shelves of my house, this just isn't a novel I can recommend.
The Bright Lights Theatre Company, on the verge of destitution as usual, has found themselves holed up on a foundered steamship moored in the middle of a prairie while waiting for one of their number to get out of jail for profanity for quoting Shakespeare in the town of Salvation, Missouri. Miss March takes care of the jail and the six of them join the Crews (and discover that Loucien is hugely pregnant) and the other actors aboard what they believe to be the "Calliope". As the seasonal floods rise, the "Calliope" is once again swept onto the river, a giant tree stump still plugging the hole it impaled in the boat's hull. An "alligator man" (Elijah) who happened to be living in the boiler room and who seems to have an odd, but unremembered affinity for the boat, finds that he's able to steer the thing by sitting on the roof of the pilot house and using his feet.
This entirely impossible cast of characters then decide to start a traveling show on the boat itself, so they moor up in a likely place, put up handbills, and advertise for acts. They end up with a dog woman with an unintelligible Boston accent, a barber-surgeon who's skilled in phrenology, a hell-fire preacher, Medora and her Photopia, Max whose English is limited to Polish who performs with a flexible plank, and a black quartet. Later they take on-board Chip, the rather dim carpenter to help with repairs.
It seems the "Calliope" is always running into a spot of trouble. For instance, there's the gambler who holds the marker for the boat (from whom they learn her real name: the Sunshine Queen). There was that unfortunate misunderstanding about which boat was to be stripped for usable lumber and the sheriff who owned the other boat. The encounter with the pirate "Sugar Cain". And the time Kookie ended up in the water with the gator during a show and everyone thought it was an excellent act.
I read much of this book on my commute to and from work, so the entire ridership of the southwest branch of the Chicago CTA Blue Line thinks I'm plum outen my mind (not that that's an entirely incorrect assessment). This book is laugh out loud funny.
It does, eventually, as I feared, take a more serious turn, but there's still a sense that we shouldn't get too mournful. Poor Kookie, drunk (literally and figuratively) from the incident with the pirate, takes to a saloon and loses a chunk of money to a card sharp - the "Black Hand" Cole Blacker. He ends up so far in the hole that Cole comes to claim the Sunshine Queen in payment. Over the violent objections from his wife, Everett agrees to what appears to be a hopeless boat race to reclaim the Sunshine Queen. We sense that this isn't going to work out so well for the Bright Lights, but this here's where I stop giving away the plot, except to say that every element in the story has its purpose, and they all fall neatly into place.
Throughout the story, the tone is pitch-perfect. Ms. McCaughrean has a way with words that just draws the reader in, whether to the humor of the early story, the drama and excitement later on, or the sweet sentimental parts along the way. The characters are, of course, caricatures and parodies, but they nevertheless are real human beings and you can't help but love them all (well, with the exceptions of the ones you're not supposed to like). They are larger than life and in many ways more human than any real human can be.
Ms. McCaughrean does not merely expect us to suspend our disbelief. The Golden Gate Bridge is not strong enough to suspend that much disbelief. Rather, she expects us to pretend we have never heard the word "disbelief" and that we are utterly unfamiliar with its meaning. So don't bother asking yourself how a waterlogged, derelict boat with a tree-stump plugged hole piloted by a half-crazy old man can stay afloat. Don't ask yourself how such a motley crew could survive weeks at a time with nothing but the clothes on their backs or how decent people could allow young children to get mixed up in such unseemly goings-on. You'll only give yourself indigestion. Just find yourself a good spot with a view and enjoy the show.
This is probably one of the best books I have read. Ever. Not to sound trite, but I laughed and cried, and laughed until I cried. I don't care what types of books you like or don't like, if you're between the ages of 10 and 110, do yourself a favor and read this book. Unfortunately, Amazon only allows me five stars. But I give it ten stars anyway.
The story, which is a sequel of sorts to her earlier STOP THE TRAIN!, about the eclectic settlers of a small prairie town in the 19th century, starts off with a bang --- literally. Twelve-year-old Cissy Sissney has been bored at school ever since her beloved teacher, Miss Loucien, left Olive Town to pursue a life on the stage with the Bright Lights Theater Company. It doesn't help that kids are dropping like flies from the diphtheria epidemic sweeping the area.
But when Cissy's parents decide it's high time for her to quit school and help out at the family's store, Cissy is even more down in the dumps: "Cissy loved Olive Town... She loved all the odd, desperate, varied people who had come there in search of a new life. But keep shop there? Forever? Abandon geography and history and daydreaming and playing 'stones' with Kookie in the lunch break and reading the books Miss May March lent her and writing essays entitled 'My Life: A Plan'?"
The answers to Cissy's prayers come about in a particularly dramatic fashion, and soon a motley crew, including Cissy, her best friend Kookie, the beautiful Tibbie, and the strict (but surprisingly effective) Miss May March find themselves bound for Missouri, where they have to spring a man named Curly from jail, where he's been locked up for quoting Shakespeare, and get reunited with Miss Loucien and the rest of the Bright Lights Theater Company.
Almost before Cissy (not to mention the reader) can catch her breath, they find themselves caught up with the theater company, gung ho on resurrecting the popularity of the showboat --- using a dilapidated, washed-up old riverboat left to mildew in the wake of an old flood. Before too long, they're all traveling down the Mississippi, staying one step ahead of disaster and on course for the adventure of a lifetime.
What's remarkable about THE GLORIOUS ADVENTURES OF THE SUNSHINE QUEEN is that this quintessentially American story was written so convincingly by a British author. But given that that writer in question is the expert storyteller Geraldine McCaughrean, that shouldn't be so surprising. The story itself flows like a river, maybe not like the slow and muddy Mississippi, but something altogether more rollicking and riotous. The rapid pace and huge cast of characters require a great deal of attention on the part of readers (especially those unfamiliar with STOP THE TRAIN!), but those who stay on board are in for the laugh-out-loud adventure of a lifetime.
--- Reviewed by Norah Piehl