Cover image for Kate Shelley and the midnight express
Kate Shelley and the midnight express
Wetterer, Margaret K.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Minneapolis : Carolrhoda Books, [1990]

Physical Description:
48 pages : color illustrations ; 23 cm.
Fifteen-year-old Kate risks her life in a storm to prevent a train disaster.
Reading Level:
490 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.3 0.5 6005.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.3 2 Quiz: 06412 Guided reading level: M.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
FICTION Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
FICTION Juvenile Fiction Easy Fiction

On Order



Kate stared at the rickety wooden bridge. There were boards loose on its narrow walkway. There was no railing to hold on to. She was afraid to cross this bridge even in daylight. But she had to cross it now. She had to get to the train station in time to stop the midnight express. When a heavy storm destroyed the bridge over Honey Creek, near Kate Shelley's home in Moingona, Iowa, fifteen-year-old Kate bravely rushed out into the storm, saving the lives of two men and preventing hundreds of other lives from being lost. This is the true story of a young girl's resourcefulness and courage in the face of great danger.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 2-3. Based on a true incident, this story recounts the heroic action of 15-year-old Kate Shelley, a nineteenth-century midwestern girl who saved an express train from disaster. On a stormy night, Kate hears the nearby railroad bridge give way as a locomotive is crossing. She rushes out to find two survivors clinging to tree branches, and then fights her way to the rail station up the line to get help and to warn the coming Midnight Express of the danger in its path. Her effort pays off, for the stationmaster's telegraphed message to the express is the last that goes out on that foul, flooded night. The story's factual basis makes it all the more appealing, and Ritz's charcoal-and-wash drawings evoke the setting and imbue personalities with lots of character. A substantive adventure for newly independent readers. ~--Denise Wilms

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-3-- A vivid recounting of a true story of a young girl in 1881 Iowa, told in the format and style of an easy reader. Through her courageous actions, Kate Shelley was able to save the lives of two men when a railroad bridge was washed out, plus the lives of 200 others speeding toward the broken bridge on an express train. The language is simple, yet its terseness conveys the danger and excitement of the incident. Ritz's dark, soft-edged paintings convey the emotional drama as Kate struggles through the storm to the bridge. This is a wonderful bit of history brought to life to share with young readers. No dullness here--it's a page-turner. --Judith Gloyer, Milwaukee Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.