Project Description

Teacher’s Guide

Railroad John and the Red Rock Run

by Tony Crunk
illustrated by Michael Austin

In this riotous tall tale, Lonesome Bob is heading to Red Rock to marry Wildcat Annie. The ceremony begins at two o’clock and Wildcat Annie waits for no one.

“I’ve driven this train for forty years, and we’ve never been late once yet!” Railroad John says proudly as everyone boards the Sagebrush Flyer. But when Bad Bill and his outlaw gang show up around the bend and a fierce thunderstorm kicks up, the Sagebrush Flyer train and Lonesome Bob are twenty-two minutes behind schedule! Can Granny Apple Fritter’s Hard-Shell Chili-Pepper-Corn-Pone Muffins help save the day?

Austin’s colorful and exaggerated illustrations capture the cast of memorable characters and delightfully clever twists of plot and prose in Crunk’s hilarious tall tale.

Format: Hardcover
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-363-4
Publication Date: 2/1/2006
Page Count: 32
Size: 9-5/8″ x 10-3/4″
Age Range: 4 – 8
Language: English
AR Level: 4.2
F&P: GRL R, Gr 4, Genre F
Themes: Tall Tales, Time, Trains, Weddings


“It’s mighty tall-tale telling, just waitin’ for a teller and a passel of kids.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Austin’s sepia-toned acrylics amplify the energy, drama and hyperbolic humor of Crunk’s rollickin’, rail-ridin’ romp…Kids will eagerly climb aboard for repeat rides.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Crunk’s original tall tale gets a big boost from Austin’s unusual and exuberant illustrations… An effective match of illustrations with a high-spirited story.” ―Booklist

“The text moves along at a rollicking clip and has a true tall-tale tone.” ―School Library Journal

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“Tony Crunk has written quite an outlandish and hilarious adventure.” ―Excellent Kids Books

“It’s whirlwind ride, a hair-raising adventure, with colorful names and incredible escapes. The illustrations have a vintage, old movie feel that only helps create the atmosphere necessary for a convincing tall tale. Which is to say: quite my kind of story!” ―A Word’s Worth

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Storytelling World Resource Awards (Honor, Stories for Pre-Adolescent Listeners) ―Storytelling World magazine, 2007

Georgia Children’s Picture Storybook Award (Nominee) ―University of Georgia, 2010-2011

Emphasis on Reading Program (Nominee, Grades K-1) ―Alabama Department of Education, 2007-2008

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Meet the Author

Tony Crunk is a poet and children’s book author. He holds degrees from Centre College, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Virginia, and currently teaches at the University of Alabama Birmingham. He lives in Alabama.

Meet the Illustrator

Michael Austin is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, a creative director, and the illustrator of several books. He lives in Georgia. You can visit his website here.