NZ Writer and Illustrator
Joy Cowley, illustrated by Philip Webb
Hero of the Hill
Scholastic 2013 $22.99hb 32 pages
ISBN 978 1 7754 3196 1
Themes: Fell engines/ Rimutaka Incline/ Stories in rhyme
Many years ago trains didn’t go through the tunnel to the Wairarapa from Wellington. In those days the carriages were hauled up the incline with a gradient of 1/13 at the steepest part by the Fell locomotive. Here is the story of Locomotive H One-Ninety-Nine as it battles (with help from the sweating drivers) to pull the train up through Cross Creek, through Siberia to the Summit. Joy Cowley and Philip Webb have collaborated to bring this now almost forgotten part of New Zealand history to life and you can tell both have had much pleasure in doing it. The rhyme is pitch perfect and easy to read aloud and the illustrations are firmly set in the 1950s.
Go to www.fellmuseum.org.nz for information about the Fell Locomotive Museum in Featherston.
Preschool up / Age 4 up
(I was working at School Library Service (as it then was) around 1955-56 and was sent to take a large box of brand new books to the children at Cross Creek School travelling on a wooden train pulled by the Fell Locomotive – it was quite an adventure. I stayed the night in the Headmaster’s house (no Principals then) and returned to Wellington the next day. 'Going down' was almost as exciting.)