Young Katie tends her sick mother and waits for her father, a conductor on the New York Central Railroad, to return home. When a terrible blizzard hits, and Katie's father doesn't come home on the day he has marked on the calendar, Katie has to take charge of the household. As the streets turn to ice and thick snow hurls down to smother the city, Katie tries to comfort her mother by going to the pawn shop to retrieve her mother's special garnet wedding brooch. Bootless and underdressed in a shawl, Katie braves the storm and uses her own savings to take the elevated railroad to the pawnshop. It's a cold, wet trip, but once Katie gets on the train, she begins to enjoy herself until, just eight blocks from her stop, the train gets stuck on the tracks high above the city.
With the help of a kindly boy, Katie is helped off the train and back down onto the street, but it seems that there is always some obstacle to overcome on this freezing journey. Brave, dependable Katie is a model of stoicism as she fights to achieve her simple, but nearly unattainable, goal. Based on the Great Blizzard of 1888 in New York City, the story is tightly written and readers will eagerly turn the pages as they continue to wonder how Katie will find her way out of each jam. Use this story to prompt discussions about persistence, as well as the devastating effects of storms, especially on the more underprivileged residents of a city.
"Enough suspense to make it a good choice for reluctant readers." — School Library Journal