Title: Jackson and Bud's Bumpy Ride: America's First Cross-Country Automobile Trip
Author: Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff
Illustrator: Wes Hargis
Publisher: Millbrook Press
Concepts: economic development, infrastructure
Review: Dr. Horatio Jackson, a wealthy man with an appetite for risk and adventure, wagered $50 that he would be able to drive an automobile from California to New York in less than three months. Few people would bat an eyelash at such a trip today, but in 1903 when Jackson made the bet, the automobile was still a novelty, the country had very few paved roads, travelers had no maps or road signs (or global positioning systems) to guide them, and cars ran on fuel that drivers had to purchase from general stores.
Accompanied by a mechanic named Crocker and a bulldog named Bud, Jackson encountered more obstacles than he had bargained for as he made the cross-country journey. Would they be able to cross the mountains, get through the dessert, and free the car from the endless mud traps in order to win the bet? This entertaining book, based on a true story that is also the subject of a PBS documentary, provides teachers and parents with a valuable opportunity for discussing with children how economic development has revolutionized travel times and made road trips much more comfortable and efficient than they were in the past.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children