Title: Just Fine the Way They Are: From Dirt Roads to Rail Roads to Interstates
Author: Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge
Illustrator: Richard Walz
Publisher: Calkins Creek
Concepts: innovation, technological change, economic development
Review: The inclination to protect one's own turf certainly applied back in the early 1800s when tavern keeper John Slack objected to Congress's plan to build a National Road from the east coast to the Ohio River. After all, wagon drivers regularly spent a night or two at his tavern whenever they got stuck in the mud on the dirt road. Who needed the National Road?
Years later, stage coach company owner Lucius Stockton had similar thoughts about the development of a steam locomotive. Who needed to travel by rail when they could ride on one of Mr. Stockton's fine stage coaches? And so it happened over and over again following advances in transportation: individuals who had profited from the old systems had to adjust to new methods of sending people, freight, and even ideas across the country.
This tongue-in-cheek picture book presents young readers with an easy-to-understand account of technological advances in transportation and how progress could also encounter resistance from people who preferred the old way of doing things. Colorful illustrations engage the reader, as does the challenge at the end for young people to think about how our current reliance on gasoline-powered vehicles may change in the future.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children