Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg

Queen of the fallsAnnie Edison Taylor. Have you heard of her? I never had until I read her story. Let me tell you a little about her.

Annie was a 62 –year- old retired charm school instructor in the early 1900’s. She hadn’t saved much money, and being a widow, she had few options for the rest of her life other than going to the poor house. Well, she wasn’t about to accept that option, so she came up with a plan – a rather fantastic plan. She was going to make a name for herself, and wealth as well, by doing something that no one else had done before. She was going to ride in a wooden barrel down Niagara Falls!

Now no ordinary barrel would do the job at hand, so Annie commissioned a barrel maker to construct an extra-study, heavy duty barrel. It stood 4 ½ feet high and when padded with pillows, there was just enough room for Annie to squeeze in and secure herself with straps. She hired a manager to get the word out about this daring and dangerous adventure. Many people gathered to witness first hand as the barrel careened down the Falls.

I’ll stop her story at this point. I think you might just be curious enough about the outcome to consider reading this biography on Annie Edison Taylor. The wonderful illustrations, along with the enjoyable text about this grandmotherly daredevil make an interesting story for anyone to enjoy. Author’s notes can be found at the end of the story, as well as a list of other “barrel riders.”

You just may feel inclined to plan a trip to Niagara Falls. Hopefully, as a spectator to the watery slender rather than from within your own barrel!

Posted by: Wendy

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