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"She could remember standing in a park near the falls, hypnotized by the sight and sound, and ""holding her father's hand as they took a walk that would lead them closer. ""That's what everyone wonders when they see Niagara . . . How close will their courage let ""them get to it? "At the turn of the nineteenth century, a retired sixty-two-year-old charm school instructor named Annie Edson Taylor, seeking fame and fortune, decided to do something that no one in the world had ever done before--she would go over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel. Come meet the Queen of the Falls and witness with your own eyes her daring ride



About the Author

Chris Van Allsburg

Chris was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on June 18, 1949, the second child of Doris Christiansen Van Allsburg and Richard Van Allsburg. His sister Karen was born in 1947. Chris's paternal grandfather, Peter, owned and operated a creamery, a place where milk was turned into butter, cream, cottage cheese, and ice cream. It was named East End Creamery and after they bottled the milk (and made the other products) they delivered it to homes all around Grand Rapids in yellow and blue trucks. When Chris was born, his family lived in an old farm house next door to the large brick creamery building. It was a very old house that, like the little house in Virginia Lee Burton's story, had once looked over farmland. But by 1949, the house was surrounded by buildings and other houses. Chris's father ran the dairy with Chris's three uncles after his grandfather Peter retired. When Chris was three years old, his family moved to a new house at the edge of Grand Rapids that was part of a development; a kind of planned neighborhood, that was still being built. There remained many open fields and streams and ponds where a boy could catch minnows and frogs, or see a firefly at night. It was about a mile and a half to Breton Downs School, which Chris walked to every day and attended until 6th grade, when the Van Allsburg family moved again. The next house they lived in was an old brick Tudor Style house in East Grand Rapids. It was a street that looked like the street on the cover of The Polar Express. The houses were all set back the same distance from the street. Between the street and the sidewalk grew enormous Elm trees whose branches reached up and touched the branches of the trees on the other side of the street. Chris moved to this street with his mom, dad, sister, and two Siamese cats. One named Fafner and the other name Eloise. Chris went to junior and senior high school in East Grand Rapids. He didn't take art classes during this time. His interests and talents seemed to be more in the area of math and science.



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