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Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express

post written by Emma Filbrun

Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express, by Margaret K. WettererTitle: Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express
Author: Margaret K. Wetterer
Major Themes: Storms, Trains
Synopsis: When a storm causes a train to crash into a creek, Kate must go for help for the men who were on it.

I love Kate Shelley! The story is simple but gripping, and the illustrations are beautiful. We bought this book in 2004 for our daughter, when we were at a homeschool convention and found a vendor who sold used books. It has been a family favorite ever since.

Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express retells a true story. In July 1881, a terrible storm blew through Iowa, and 15-year-old Kate took charge of ensuring her family’s safety. Late that night, they heard an engine checking out the railroad bridge over the creek besides the family’s house, and then the terrible crack as the bridge broke and the engine went down, with men on board. Kate knew someone had to help them, so she made a heroic trip to the nearest station to warn the express train that was coming soon, and get help for the men.

Your new readers will enjoy this exciting story. As one of my sons was reading it for his oral reading practice this week, his younger brother was spell-bound. Even children too young to read will love the beautiful pictures!

No warnings!

Age Levels:

Read Aloud—Ages 3 – 4, 5 – 8
Reading Independently—Ages 5 – 6, 7 – 9


Links to buy Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express:




Keywords: Iowa, Storms, Trains

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