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The Baby Train and Other Lusty Urban Legends Paperback – October 17, 1994


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The Baby Train and Other Lusty Urban Legends + The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and Their Meanings + Encyclopedia of Urban Legends
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (October 17, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393312089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393312089
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,132,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Brunvand, an English professor at the University of Utah and author of four previous collections of modern folklore, including The Vanishing Hitchhiker , here offers another engaging compilation. He groups these resonant anecdotes, found in slightly modified versions around the world, into such sections as Sex and Scandal, and On-the-Job. In the former, the title piece tells of a train whose early morning whistle wakens couples in bed and leads to pregnancies. From the section titled Fun and Games, "Built in a Day" refers to taxi drivers' descriptions, tendered most often to tiresome American tourists, of such local monuments as the cathedral in Milan's Piazza di Duomo. Expanded from Brunvand's syndicated newspaper column, these accounts, for the most part, are attributed to the notorious FOAF--a "friend of a friend." Illustrations not seen by PW .
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Folklorist Brunvand has compiled another collection of stories originally published in his nationally syndicated column, "Urban Legends." The author gives a lively analysis of these contemporary folk tales, also including accounts and variations received from his readers. Although the narratives are reported as true, they were most often told by an unnamed "friend of a friend" and involved outrageous antics or unbelievable coincidences. The study reveals recurrent motifs and concludes with "A Type-Index of Urban Legends" classifying the tales from all five of Brunvand's books. Not as informative as The Vanishing Hitchhiker ( LJ 10/15/81), but equally entertaining.
- Eloise R. Hitchcock, Tennessee Technological Univ. Lib., Cookeville
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Denes on February 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
I've always been one of those people who love to hear a good, ironic story - my alltime favourite being the babysitter who gets the crank calls - and was pleased to find this enjoyable series of books. This was my first one, and I really enjoyed it.
The review Amazon posted is true in a sense, but there are so many stories out there that I doubt that Jan will ever "rewrite the same book" over and over. Awesome book!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
Professor Brunvand provides an informative and entertaining account of urban legends (or urban myths). Professor Brunvand is so revered that he was recently referred to in an episode of "Millenium" which dealt with urban myths.
I recommend that readers read his other books about urban legends.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Beth Erika on July 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
TheBaby Train and Other Lusty Urban Legends, when picking upthis book I had no idea what it was. All I knew is that title took hold of myattention and I was lost in the book. This book is one many urban legend quickreads. What's best about this one is that there are so many that can be closeto home or some that we already may have heard of. This is one out five urbanlegend books written by the Jan Harold Brunvard. A lot of the others includingthis one are said to be repetitive. Although this may be true and hard tofollow it helped me understand that some of the written legends can be debatablytrue.

I wouldn't recommendthis book to anyone who doesn't have interest in how cultures can connect oranyone who is looking for an easy quick read. Although it is very easy tocomprehend. As I read I decided to readsome of them to my mother. In doing sosparked her curiosity and how she could connect to some of these stories. Idon't want to go into deep detail on the author because the way the authorwrites speaks for itself. The stories areentertaining and the author's observations are illuminating. Professor Brunvandprovides an informative and entertaining account of urban legends (or urbanmyths). I recommend that readers also read his other books about urban legends. Whether you believe in urban legends or notthis a read that I highly recommend along with all the other books by ProfessorBrunvard.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jan Harold Brunvand wrote this book as the fifth installment in his urban legend series that begins with The Vanishing Hitchhiker. It tells us a little bit about the common forms of these stories and the mental processes that shape them. Then it does its primary job of telling interesting, mostly untrue stories that happened to "a friend of a friend."

The book's title story is about an unusually high birth rate in a small western town. It was supposedly caused by a train which regularly blew its whistle going through the town each morning at 4 AM, waking many of the residents. Since it was too early to get up and too late to go back to sleep... the town had a higher than usual birth rate. In some versions of the story, the railroad changes the train schedule to ease the population explosion. In others, some families are immune because of deafness, shift work, or other factors.

Other interesting stories are organized into categories of horror, crime, work, fun and games, foreign relations, animal legends, and academic legends. The absence of a chapter of urban legends with sexual themes sets this book apart from previous volumes. Perhaps that well has run dry.

A few favorites:

- A family assumes the tin of unlabeled brown powder mailed to them by relatives is coffee. Too late they learn it was their cremated grandmother.
- A flight attendant is unobtrusively wearing an inflatable bra under her uniform. Suddenly, the airplane cabin depressurizes...
- A thrifty pet owner splints his budgie's leg with wooden matches to save a trip to the vet. The bird scratches the newspapers in its cage with the as-yet unlit match.
Read more ›
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