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Children's Nonfiction General

The Dreadful Truth: Building the Railway

by (author) Ted Staunton

illustrated by Brian Goff

Formac Publishing Company Limited
Initial publish date
Nov 2005
General, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2005
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 8 to 13
  • Grade: 3 to 8
  • Reading age: 8 to 13


This irreverent and witty book describes the building of Canada's railway. Author Ted Staunton serves up a saucy tour through the railway fiasco beginning in the 1850s with the first attempts at running a steam engine on a short length of track.
With cartoon-style illustrations on every page, this book uncovers the scandals about government financing, as well as the to-ing and fro-ing about the route around the Great Lakes and the arduous labour, rotten boots and hallucinations. In place of a tedious textbook, this is history designed to entertain.

About the authors


TED STAUNTON a écrit plus de quarante livres jeunesse et a contribué à la sériepopulaire Seven. Il joue aussi de la musique folk et blues. Ted se rend souventdans des écoles et des bibliothèques canadiennes. Il donne aussi un cours derédaction au collège George Brown à Toronto. Quand il n’est pas plongé dans un livre, il fait souvent de la musique avec le Maple Leaf Champions Jug Band..


Ted Staunton is the award-winning author of over forty books for young people, including Bounced, What Blows Up in The Almost Epic Squad series, the picture book Friends for Real, illustrated by Ruth Ohi, and the coauthor of the non-fiction title It Seemed Like a Good Idea . . . : Canadian Feats, Facts and Flubs, with his son Will. A busy and popular presenter at schools across Canada, Ted also teaches writing at George Brown College in Toronto, and is a roots/blues musician in whatever time is left over. Visit him online at


Ted Staunton's profile page

Brian Goff's profile page


  • Winner, Canadian Children's Book Centre Our Choice Selection

Editorial Reviews

"... a tale of corruption, political intrigue and natural disasters ... [that would definitely appeal to ... boys ... and even to the most reluctant reader."

Resource Links

Librarian Reviews

The Dreadful Truth: Building the Railway (The Dreadful Truth)

An irreverent and witty account of the building of Canada’s railroads – rife with scandals, blunders and disasters – written for those who don’t usually enjoy history books.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Canadian Children’s Book News. 2007.

Other titles by Ted Staunton