Yee-haw! Now gather 'round to hear about the rip-roarin' tall tale by Tony Crunk in Railroad John and the Red Rock Run.

This one's about a good-natured, very round gentleman named Lonesome Bob, who aims to get hitched to Wildcat Annie. Lonesome is traveling with his pal, Granny Apple Fritter, a tiny woman with a very large hat and a big spirit to match. The wedding is in Red Rock at exactly 2:00, and Lonesome can't be late, because Wildcat Annie is a woman of little patience.

Never fear, says Railroad John, who drives the Sagebrush Flyer train. I've driven this train for forty years, and we've never been late once yet! Of course, there are bound to be obstacles, and the first one is Bad Bill, who sits aboard his steed on the tracks at Dead Man's Curve. His horse needs some energy, Bad Bill explains, and he gallops away with all of the train's coal. Never fear, says Granny, who pulls out a platter of her Hard-Shell Chili-Pepper Corn-Pone Muffins. Her muffins are hot enough to set fire to an iceberg, and, sure enough, they get that train moving down the track. Of course, catastrophe after catastrophe meets the speeding train, but amazingly, everyone on the train gets to the church on time, and the tall tale ends with much rejoicing. There's also one last laugh for readers: the recipe for Granny Apple's magic muffins which includes such hard-to-get items as porcupine eggs and rattlesnake milk.

Michael Austin's illustrations in brown tones that resemble old sepia photographs are brimming with movement and excitement. Kids will love this spirited tale, which offers an imaginative glimpse of old-time railroad travel and its travails. Alice Cary hails from a family of longtime railroaders.

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