STE-E-E-E-EAMBOAT A-COMIN’!

Written by Jill Esbaum, Illustrated by Adam Rex
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005

“Ste-e-e-e-eamboat a-comin’!” The cry echoes down the street, and a sleepy river town springs to life. Townsfolk pour from every doorway, hurrying to the riverfront to witness the sights and sounds that accompany a visit from this floating palace. Squawking chickens, shouting roustabouts, creaking drays, the reckless crush of passengers thumping down the gangplank… Twenty exhilarating minutes after its arrival, the steamboat paddles away, and the town settles back into its drowsy routine.

This book was inspired by a few paragraphs from Mark Twain’s Life On the Mississippi. Adam Rex’s gorgeous illustrations will transport you back to the 1860s, when a steamboat visit was an event unrivaled for noise, color, and excitement. Come along!


“Well-drawn details abound, making this an excellent resource for historical study. Whether as an introduction to the history of river travel or as background for a Twain classic, this salute to a bygone transportation era is sure to engage children as they, too, thrill to the sound of that once-familiar call, ‘Ste-e-e-e-eamboat a-comin’!'” – School Library Journal (Starred Review)

“Esbaum captures the hustle and commotion attending a steam packet’s arrival in a small river town. Rex depicts the hubbub with Norman Rockwell-esque realism. This makes a rhythmic, emphatic evocation of a scene from days gone by.” – Kirkus

*2006 IRA Notable Children’s Book
*1st place, Juvenile Literary category – Friends of American Writers
*Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year
*Kansas State Reading Circle 2006 Recommended Reading List
*PBS Teacher Source Social Studies Recommended book