________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 11. . . .November 18, 2016


Bullet the New Steam Engine.

Dwayne LaFitte. Illustrated by Thérèse Cilia.
St. John’s, NL: Pennywell Books, 2016.
24 pp., hardcover & pdf, $19.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77117-456-5 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-77117-457-2 (pdf).

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Courtney Penney.

*** /4



“Take your time through here, Bullet,” warned the conductor. “This area is called the Wreckhouse, and it can be very windy here.”

“Yes, sir,” puffed the engine. “I’ve heard about this place. Oh no! There are some huge logs ahead and they’re blocking the tracks!”

“That’s okay, little steamy. Just push through slowly, and gently nudge them out of the way.”

“Sure thing, Mr. Conductor. I’m sure I can do it!”


Are you ready to go on a train ride? All aboard! In Bullet the New Steam Engine, readers go on a historic tour of pre Confederation Newfoundland with the steam engine, Bullet. Bullet is quite nervous about travelling around the difficult terrain, but thanks to help from the conductor, he overcomes each obstacle.

internal art     The story unfolds with a dialogue between the train Bullet and conductor Robert. Along their journey, Bullet and Robert see caribou, fog, residents waiting for their mail, fishermen in trouble and berry pickers that went missing. Readers are left to believe that Bullet comes to the rescue. There was a part of the book that I found peculiar. It seemed that part of the story was left unwritten and readers were left to surmise what happened. For example, we know that Bullet helped to rescue fishermen out to sea by tying a rope to the front of the train, but this is not explained in detail. This may raise questions.

     Illustrations in this book are imaginative and full of character. There is a lot of detail put into each piece. For example, in the illustration which depicts residents waiting for their mail, people of the town are painted with history in mind. The women wear dresses, skirts and hats while the men wear suits and top hats.

     While anticlimactic in plot, Bullet the New Steam Engine does a good job at showing what life used to be like in Newfoundland. Young readers will become exposed to the Newfoundland Railway, an integral part of Newfoundland life prior to joining Confederation.


Courtney Penney is the Regional Librarian for Central Division with Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries. She lives in Gander, NL.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

Next Review | Table of Contents For This Issue - November 18, 2016
CM Home
| Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive