Cover image for A mile from Ellington station
A mile from Ellington station
Egan, Tim.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 2001.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Jealous of the highly talented dog Marley, Preston the bear spreads a rumor that the dog is a wizard.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.0 0.5 48090.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Preston and his wife, Ruth, own Ellington Lodge. Preston is a checkers-playing fiend and is known around the neighborhood as the greatest checkers player in the world. When a small dog named Marley shows up at Ellington Lodge, Preston at first thinks he's harmless, and Ruth is delighted because Marley helps out with chores that Preston has no time for, due to his checkers games. Ever-helpful Marley soon seems to cast a spell over everyone at the lodge with his cooking talent, amazing storytelling, speed painting, and magic tricks.
When Marley beats Preston in checkers, ending his 992-game winning streak, it's a bit too much for Preston to take, and he wants the canine wonder gone. Will Preston be able to turn the folks of Ellington Lodge against the little dog?

Author Notes

Tim Egan is the author and illustrator of several offbeat and humorous tales for children. He is consistently recognized for his individuality and delightful illustrations. Born in New Jersey, Tim moved to California to attend the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He still lives in southern California with his wife, Ann, and their two sons. To learn more about Tim Egan, visit his Web site at For a complete list of books by Tim Egan, visit www.houghton

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. Here's the latest from Egan, known for his inventive stories and pictures. Preston is a champion checkers player. His winning streak stands at 992. One night a dog from France, Marley, appears. He does the chores that Preston has been putting off. It turns out Marley can also cook, tell stories, and, unfortunately for Preston, win at checkers. Up to this point, the story has been clever and amusing. Now it gets convoluted. Preston spreads the word that Marley is a sorcerer; Marley does do things that seem quite magical. The crowd begins to grumble about Marley, which may prompt adults to wonder if a mob mentality is building. A final mix-up about the nature of Marley seems more silly than surprising. As usual, Egan's art is offbeat and amusing, and even the story has its special moments. The issue is whether this will hit the target audience. It's probably kids at the high end of the recommended grade level who will find this the funniest. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Egan specializes in quirky towns and dignified, faintly distrustful animal characters. His latest wry tale begins in Ellington Lodge, a general store with golden-brown woodwork, quaint posters advertising fresh produce and bountiful countertops stocked with jars. Ellington Lodge's proprietor, a bear named Preston, is enjoying a yearlong winning streak at checkers. He hunches over a checkerboard, observed by a leisurely pig, elk and cow all neatly dressed in the hats and jackets of country gentlemen. "As Preston beat[s] Eleanor Dorsey in game nine hundred and fifty-six," a stranger enters the shop and offers to do some chores that Preston has neglected. The talented newcomer, a squat brown dog wearing a gray top hat, burgundy-red duster and powder-blue cape, whips up breakfast and teaches everyone how to say "hello" in 10 different languages. He also trounces the bear at his game, thus disrupting Preston's routine and provoking the insular townsfolk. Egan's matter-of-fact narration unwinds at an unhurried pace, and his deliberate lines and mellow watercolor palette likewise suggest stasis. It's no wonder the eccentric visitor (who rides a unicycle and carries a walking stick with a certain hauteur) first poses a threat, then turns out to be "just a small dog with an attitude." This understated tale, with its aura of mystery and its subtle mockery of prejudices, recalls past Egan successes such as Metropolitan Cow and Chestnut Cove. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-Egan's appealing, retro cover illustration leads readers off the beaten track to a small country lodge run by Preston, a carefree, childlike bear, and his somewhat maternal, hardworking wife, Ruth. Playing checkers is Preston's passion. A 943-game winning streak has consumed him for over a year and left Ruth with all the chores. Enter Marley, a globe-trotting dog with amazing abilities-including being a master checkers player. Marley plays Preston and wins, unknowingly breaking his streak, and the bear broods over his defeat. Impulsively, he decides to tell his wife and friends that he thinks Marley is a sorcerer. Reaction to the rumor appears to spiral out of control when a crowd of locals threatens to run the dog out of town, and, worse still, Ruth tells Preston that she saw Marley turn to ice the instant his sorcery was uncovered. The guilty bear nearly faints when he sees all the trouble he has caused, but Ruth ends his misery by revealing that it was all a joke-everyone was just having fun with him, and Marley is alive and well. Egan's ink-and-watercolor illustrations, with their warm palette and understated, cozily rounded cartoon figures, have a low-key humor that helps anchor the sometimes over-the-top plot twists. With a format well suited to storyhour, this offbeat tale lightheartedly reminds its readers to think of the consequences before they act.-Carey Ayres, Port Washington Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.