Kids love trains, and Kevin Lewis and illustrator Daniel Kirk's Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo
will do nothing but encourage the obsession. "Sun's up! / Morning's here. / Up and at 'em, / engineer," cheerfully begins this rhyming picture book. As the simple large-lettered text chugs along, Daniel Kirk brings a child's playroom and train set to life with bold, bright illustrations reminiscent of his work in Bigger
. In the course of the book, the toys bustle about to make sure the steam engine is loaded up with freight and finds its way (through the country, 'round the mountains, into tunnels, and across the river) to its destination--the city. There the "sleepy-sleepy choo-choo" rests, right next to a tired little boy, until the next day's work begins: "To the roundhouse / you are bound. / Good night, engine, / safe and sound." (Baby to preschool)
From Publishers Weekly
First-time author Lewis and Kirk (Breakfast at the Liberty Diner) here embrace an enduring childhood fantasyAthe playroom that comes alive at nightAand pare it down for very young readers. A toy engineer and his son drive a train loaded with "freight" (actually an assortment of playthings) around a labyrinth of track laid out in a sleeping boy's bedroom. Other toysAa jack-in-the-box, a Humpty Dumpty, a trio of plush raccoonsAhelp load and unload the cargo, or greet the train as it passes by. Lewis's brief, rhyming couplets mime a locomotive's momentum in their rhythm: " 'Round the mountains, high and steep./ Through the valleys, low and deep." The onomatopoeic refrain, set in playful typography, is familiar but infectious: "Chugga-chugga/ choo-choo/ whistle blowing/ Whoooooooo! Whooooooooo!" Kirk's dramatically shaded, panoramic paintings revel in the toys' bold shapes and colors as well as in the disparate relationships of their sizes to one another and to the environment. He gives the classic subject matter an up-to-the-minute look: his compositions have the modeled, 3D look of computer-aided art, and his surfaces a high-gloss, airbrushed smoothness. Kids will be glad to climb aboard for the ride. Ages 2-5. (May)
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