5 Fabulous Things… A Royal Ride: Catherine the Great’s Great Invention

  1. Roller Coasters: What a fabulous topic for a picture book! Who knew that credit for the first ever roller coaster goes to Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia? Now, every kid who reads this book will!
  2. Art: I’ve been a huge fan of Lucy Fleming’s art for a while now. Her color palette, line and illustration style just speak to me and bring me joy.
  3. Readability: Ever since I saw the movie Anastasia when I was a kid I’ve been fascinated by Russian history. Let’s be honest, there is a lot to know about the country, its former leaders, one of them being Catherine the Great. I love how Kristen Fulton doesn’t let all of that cloud this story. She gives the reader a taste of what else Catherine the Great accomplished but keeps focus on one story line, making this easy to read, easy to follow, and urging the reader to keep turning the page.
  4. Endpapers: I know I mentioned Lucy’s art above but the endpapers in this book deserve their own special shout out!
  5. Backmatter: Complete with an author’s note and a roller coaster time line. But my favorite part is the inclusion of the translation of “roller coaster” in several languages. It completely satisfies my inner geek.


Parents: Have a roller coaster buff in the house? This book will coast (See what I did there?) to the top of his/her pile of favorite books.

Teachers: Have readers who are hesitant to read nonfiction? This book is sure to throw their predispositions for a loop (sorry, I just can’t help it.)

Writers: Excellent mentor text for streamlined non-fiction, how to take a fresh angle on a topic, and having a great hook.


  1. Kim, I adore your sparkling wit and your “5 Fabulous Things” way of introducing books. Never in a million years would I have imagined that Catherine the Great deserves credit for the first ever roller coaster. I’m most intrigued by your mention of how the author streamlined the non-fiction information. Thanks for sharing!


  2. How fascinating! Who would have thought Catherine the Great Is credited for the first rollercoaster! Amazing. I want to read this book!


  3. Great post! It makes me want to read this book for both the information and the art. Any child would love to read this or have it read to him/her.


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