Read Shortcut by Donald Crews Online


The train tracks ran right by Bigmama's house in Cottondale, and the children were warned to stay off the tracks. But one night they were late, and the tracks were a shortcut, so they started off. And when there was no turning back, they heard the train coming....

Title : Shortcut
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780688135768
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 32 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Shortcut Reviews

  • Jim Erekson
    2019-05-28 08:59

    One of the best doesn't-preach-a-message, let children be who they are and do what they do kind of book. I often use this book to teach about complementary illustrations, which lay out a different narrative on their own than the one I get from the words. Mostly this reminds me of spending time at my Grandma and Grandpa's house at the mouth of the Big Cottonwood Canyon, where we would take off down to the creek by the Old Mill for hours on end. Unsupervised play wins! This gets five because I own multiple copies, and read it over and over again.

  • Mary
    2019-06-24 08:18

    Level- ElementaryThis is a book that I use as a mentor text in writers' workshop. It uses great descriptive language and is great when teaching personal narrative. My students love the sounds of the train whistle and train track. The book Big Momma is another great story written by Don Crews. I am going to do an author study this year with some other Crews books.

  • Eunice
    2019-06-01 05:14

    "The Shortcut, " written and illustrated by Donald Crews is a book about a group of brothers and sisters who decide to take the short way home by walking on the train tracks. This book won the HBF award and was reviewed by Publisher's Weekly, School Library Journal and Children's Literature. I think that this book would be appropriate for children in kindergarten - first grade. I would use this book to teach students about making predictions because the book is packed with suspense. As the story progresses, readers should be wondering if the children will make it off the tracks in time before the freight train comes.One issue I have with this book is that, while the illustrations are of African American characters, the characters all look the same - they have the same shade of brown skin with round saucer eyes, the girls are all wearing the same outfit in different colors and sporting the same hairstyle and so are the boys. One way that the illustrations can be useful is to teach children how to use pictures to make inferences - the facial expressions and body positions of the characters change as they sense the train coming closer and closer towards them. I would ask students if they could tell me what the characters might be thinking or feeling in the moment.

  • Shanna Gonzalez
    2019-06-14 05:00

    Here is another excellent simple book for young train lovers by the inimitable Donald Crews. This book, unlike his more sedate offerings, is quite a thriller. The story starts out serenely when a group of children, hurrying home late, decide to take the forbidden train tracks home. They think all will be well until one of them hears the whistle of an unscheduled train and they must decide which way to run to get out of the way in time. Written with consummate skill, the tale builds in tension as the distant train whistle gets louder and louder, until it reaches a clickety-clacking climax with the children cowering in darkness while the train rushes past. It's thrilling, but scary enough that it is unlikely to provoke copycat behavior -- in fact, it may serve as a cautionary tale.My only problem with the story is that after their brush with death, the children do not talk about their experience again. A more healthy response to a potentially traumatic event would be to confide in trustworthy adults. But we can't fault Crews too much, since the story is apparently autobiographical. It's dedicated to a list of first-named people, with the comment, "All's well that ends well."

  • Connie
    2019-06-20 04:59

    The cover largely sums this book up. A group of kids, coming home at night, think they'll take the shortcut home. You know - the shortcut? Over the train tracks? Sure, they're not supposed to, but nobody will ever know, right? What could POSSIBLY go wrong?This is apparently based upon an actual incident from Mr. Crews' life. I can believe it - the kids in the book laugh and giggle and joke and do just about everything *but* concentrate on getting home safe and sound. (That's how they ended up so late they decided to take a shortcut in the first place, I suppose.) And they got a valuable lesson - lucky nobody ended up hurt!This story might be a bit scary for some younger children. Consider your kid before you read it. (For that matter, it might be scary for some adults!) But if your kid will read it, it's a very exciting story with a clear and obvious moral - sometimes, there's REALLY a good reason you're not supposed to do something, so don't be stupid.

  • Alisha Williams
    2019-06-18 09:05

    This was a good story to get children thinking about their lives. A time when they did something they knew they shouldn't of, any shortcuts they took. Different things. Good book. Also has sound words.

  • Michelle Nero
    2019-06-15 04:00

    A short text that is packed with so much! Thrilling and suspenseful. The ending is powerful.

  • A
    2019-06-23 08:58

    Not sure why I like this one. The message is so ominous. It resounds in a way with work ethic and doing what you are told and with the secrets of adolescence contained in peer groups.

  • Jen
    2019-06-02 06:16

    This Donald Crews book had many words, uncharacteristically. I enjoyed that the kids learned a lesson. This is helpful in my area where there are many train tracks.

  • Nicole Hoag
    2019-06-10 05:02

    Genre: Children's Picture Book (MAISA Mentor Text)My third graders really enjoyed this book, and were able to remember and point out different parts when we would revisit the story for lessons.Feature: The words used to show sounds in the book gradually get larger as the train comes closer... This is a great book for pre-teaching to add sound words to their writing.The book also shows that authors can play with the formatting and positioning of the words to appeal to readers. We used this book in this way for teaching different lessons in reading and writing. Grade level suggested 1-3

  • Rachel Smith
    2019-06-04 05:01

    Crews’ works from his past childhood experiences are charming. I appreciate the adventurous spirit in the book which then leads into the understanding of consequences and caution that all children experience. I would likely use this book to discuss consequences of actions with children as well as how to be safe when walking somewhere new or even somewhere familiar.

  • Sharla Bazen
    2019-05-29 06:14

    Genre: Children's Picture Book (MAISA Mentor Text)Unique feature: The sound words in the book gradually get larger as the train comes closer... This is a great book for pre-teaching to add sound words to their writing. The book also shows that as the author you can play with the formatting and positioning of the words to appeal to your readers more.Grade level suggested 1-2

  • Jo Oehrlein
    2019-05-25 06:59

    A warning about playing/walking on railroad tracks through a story where a group of kids gets a scare.

  • Garren
    2019-06-11 10:25

    Instant fan of this guy's childhood stories.

  • Laura Molinario
    2019-06-02 10:03

    Picture BookMain IdeaClear lesson to be learned

  • Kimberlie
    2019-06-21 04:03

    The seven children in the story decide to take a shortcut home, along a train track. They are walking and playing on the track as the train is coming. While the children recognize the danger of the train, they continue to walk and play on the track. They jump off the track just as the train approaches them. The story ends with them keeping the event a secret from their family and not discussing it with each other.There are some positive aspects of this story, particularly the illustrations and how they accentuate the storyline. As an adult, I can recognize them, but I do not think early elementary students could do so on their own.Adults reading this with their children will no doubt take the opportunity to discuss the extreme danger and inappropriate behavior by the children in the story. But my concern is for the young readers who are learning to read on their own and do not have the adult interaction to guide them.Will a 5 or 6 year old reading alone understand that walking on a track is dangerous, even when a train is not visible? Will they understand that getting off the track immediately is the safest action when they see/hear a train? Will they follow the lead of the children in the story and keep real events from their parents? I cannot answer those questions affirmatively with any confidence, and therefore urge parents and teachers to read this book WITH their child(ren) and take the opportunity to have a safety discussion afterward.

  • Mary Hohman
    2019-05-27 09:19

    Shortcut is a contemporary realistic fiction story written and illustrated by Donald Crews. The intended age group of this book is primary ages 5-8 years old. This story is about group of children who decided to take the shortcut home because it was getting late and would soon be dark. They knew when the passenger trains came but the freight trains didn’t have a schedule, so it was dangerous. I rated this book three stars because the book was really short. The illustrations are nice, I especially like the appearance of the train during movement. I believe children will like this book because it builds up suspense. Although it wasn’t safe to walk the track, the children weren’t hurt and learned a good lesson from the experience. This book would be nice for a number of different lesson plans. You could use this book as reference for safety awareness, and explain the outcome could have been tragic. I would have a discussion of how the children should have never walked the track. This book could be read as a supplement of a lesson on trains. You could begin a discussion of different types of cargo the freight trains may have. Then the children could draw a picture of a train and cut and paste objects that could be the cargo.

  • Tionna Dorsey
    2019-06-23 02:19

    "Short Cut" by Donald Crews is part of the contemporary realistic fiction collection. Donald Crews has won the prestigious Caldecott Award in 1979. This book is recommended for children ages5-8 years old (P) Primary.The book "Shortcut" was about a group of children taking a shortcut home, but stumbles upon a problem. Now they wonder, walking across the train tracks were not such a good idea after all. The train starts to come and the children starts running for their life. In the end they all make it off the tracks safely.I rated this book with 3 stars. The book started off good, but then the last 5 pages were nothing but pictures. No words, just dark pictures which would be a little confusing for young readers. The characters in this book were brave, strong and fearless children. It was dark, dark colors throughout the book. Water color and gouache paint were used for the full color art, and an airbrush was used for accents. The texture of the book were very smooth. The text type is Futura Bold Italic. Some themes for this story could be "courage and strength". I would not recommend the book "Shortcut" to young readers. This book seems like it was only telling half of the story and something was left out. I didn't learn anything from reading this story.

  • Courtney Dyer
    2019-06-21 05:27

    Shortcut is another evocative story straight out of Crews’ own childhood memories spent at Bigmama’s house. Again, Crews uses watercolor and gouache paints in rich earth tones paired with airbrush accents to bring this memorable childhood experience to life.“We should have taken the road. But it was late, and it was getting dark, so we started down the track.” Deciding to take the shortcut, the children learn the dangers of walking on the train tracks when an unexpected freight train comes barreling down the tracks, forcing them to run for safety.Shortcut is by far my favorite Donald Crews book. Its tone is very different than that of Bigmama’s. It is full of excitement, fear, and suspense- a roller coaster of emotions! I especially love the use of onomatopoeia to illustrate the train’s whistle and wheels hurdling down the tracks. As a teacher, this story is a great addition to any author study on Donald Crews. It also makes for the perfect mentor text when teaching young writers how to write “small moment” personal narrative stories. This book is perfect for children ages 5-8 and is sure to have them on the edge of their seats.

  • Megan Baker
    2019-06-05 10:17

    Shortcut is a work of contemporary realistic fiction that is intended for primary readers. It is about a group of children that decide to take a shortcut home one day. The shortcut is along train tracks and as the children walk along the tracks they hear a train coming. The children must run to get out of the trains way before they are hit. The children safely make it home and decide to never speak of the incident again. I rated this book with two stars because there was not much of a plot. The book was short and I found it to be boring. The illustrations were dull and did not catch my attention. Also there was no main character and no character's names were mentioned in the book. I believe that children would find this book appealing because they will be full of suspense as the train heads straight for the children. Children also enjoy trains, which is why they may also enjoy the book. This book is a good book to read to children if they are learning about diversity because the group of children in this book are African American.

  • Jennifer
    2019-06-05 02:04

    One of my all time favorites. The suspense gives me shivers.

  • Megan Willis
    2019-06-16 04:19

    Donald Crews' children's books always inspire memories from my own childhood. As I was reading this book, I remembered the crazy adventures that I used to have with kids from my neighborhood. There was always something that happened that we all swore not to tell our parents. Usually, it was because we explored somewhere that we were forbidden to go. I read this aloud to my students. They loved the 4 or 5 pages where it was just the TRAIN COMING LOUD! Afterwards, we discussed times where they had gotten into a sticky situation with friends. We also discussed incidences when we did something we knew would get us in trouble, and we got away with it!

  • Yesenia Garcia
    2019-06-19 08:07

    The story is about a group of African American children who decide to take a shortcut home because it is late. I can use this to teach students about how it is not always a good idea to take a shortcut. The children look out for a train throughout the book. They are careful not to get hit by the train. What I like most about this book is that it features African American children, but it is a book about children taking a shortcut. The gender and race of the children are not important factors in the book, so it is an everyday book about children in a normal setting.

  • Margaret Boling
    2019-06-12 09:02

    8/2014 ** And again, with a new group of students.9/18/13 ** Read aloud with another group of fourth graders. They were mesmerized. Interesting how children show engagement - some absolutely silent, with others calling out their predictions and gasps.8/20/12 ** A excellent mentor text for Writing Workshop - memoir. It's easy to see how this might have started as an entry in the author's writer's notebook and then become a published text.The text itself is suspenseful and clearly conveys a snippet in time.

  • Lauren Piattoni
    2019-06-22 05:09

    This book was read to a class of 1st graders and I think it was pretty beneficial as a read aloud. Our teacher read the story twice over a couple of spread out days, and during the second time she explained how the students need to pay attention to the details of the story and how the author helped us to imagine the life-like part of the story. Then the class partook in writing their own short story, and I think this book was perfect for them to start their story.

  • Rejoyce
    2019-06-03 04:00

    a very good book, but likely more appropriate for the 1-3 crowd, then for a preschooler, as it covers topics of danger, a near deadly accidents and children who don't tell adults about a very dangerous risk they take. That said, for the right aged child (and parent/adult) this book would be a good conversation starter. Also this book is best for a reader who is familiar with Donald Crews' Big Momma story, so they know the characters. This story has very little character development.

  • Asha Smith
    2019-06-12 05:01

    This book is a book I used for Reading Workshop. I used it to see if the children could rearrange the story in order from beginning to end. It was a short story with great pictures. The students decide to take a shortcut home but theres a train coming through the shortcut. It is now on the bookshelf in the classroom where the students can read it at any time. They still continue to read it and then re-tell the story to a classmate.

  • Alison
    2019-06-01 04:59

    I would use this book to teach my students about the dangers of taking short cuts. This would be an extreme way to do it, but it would get the point across. I did not like this book so much because it had no true reason for the story. For instance, the reader does not know why the children are up on the train tracks. Also the book felt choppy as I read it, as if some details were missing. I would not want to use this book in my class, but it is still an "okay" read.

  • Shannon Brasher
    2019-06-25 08:02

    Shortcut is a wonderful book to read to children of all ages. It is a short read, which is good for younger readers, yet still gets the story across efficiently and keeps the reader entertained. I think even older readers can relate to the story of the friends who take a forbidden shortcut home along the railroad tracks and encounter a possible catastrophe. This book would be a good book to discuss foreshadowing, onomatopoeia, as well as making predictions.

  • Kelly Powell
    2019-06-05 04:08

    This book had quite the suspense for the reader because you knew they were on the train track and hearing a train. With each turn of the page you didn’t know if the train was going to be there or if the children would make it off the tracks in time. I enjoyed this book because like many before I have done something I’m not suppose to do and have gotten myself in a situation that could’ve been avoided if I had listened. This book was very relatable and a joy to read.