Charlie Drives the Stage

by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Glen Rounds. (Holiday, 1989 ISBN 0823407381. Out of Print). Picture Book. Grades 1+.
This review by Carol Otis Hurst first appeared in Teaching K-8 Magazine.


Important Senator Roscoe McCorkle must get to Washington for a meeting with the President and he's a long way away in Grass Valley. He plans to take a stagecoach to meet the five o'clock train for Washington, but the agent at the Overland Statecoach Company says it can't be done. "There ain't no next stage nowhere. Not today, not tomorrow. Might not be one for another week.... There's avalanches in the pass, road agents on the road, and Indians on the warpath. On top of that the river's rising and the bridge is most likely out."

The situation is desperate until the agent says it's just barely possible that Charlie Drummond, the only driver with a ghost of chance of getting through, will do it. Charlie can be found at the library reading, where else? Charlie agrees and they are off for the wildest ride ever. Outracing avalanches, dynamiting robbers, and outrunning Indians, and even outracing the train. It isn't until the end of the ride that you and senator McCorkle discover Charlie is short for Charlene. Charlie goes on the shelf beside Iva Dunnit and Brave Irene as super women of literature. Surely there are further adventures instore for this amazing woman and your kids can write them.

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