From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1–This book introduces every possible kind of train through a rollicking rhyme: Silver trains. Black trains./Speeding-down-the-track trains./Passenger trains. Freight trains./Crossing-every-state trains. The text will have readers building up steam and momentum until the very last page, when the trains and children can both rest. Unfortunately, the illustrations combine drawings, clip art, etchings, and maps, and they are too busy. Busy can be good, but with the small size of this book and its potential as a great read-aloud, the pictures are extremely distracting. On one spread, the workers are named, but the illustrations of them below the text do not line up, and small labels next to the figures indicate their jobs. It also seems as though the book were squeezed as much as possible in order to fit into 32 pages and uses every last inch of space. Stick with Michael Rex's My Freight Train
(Holt, 2002) or Philemon Sturgess's I Love Trains!
(HarperCollins, 2001).–Genevieve Gallagher, Murray Elementary School, Charlottesville, VA
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Gr. 1-3. Intricate collage illustrations add whimsy to Hubbell's rhyming text about all kinds of trains, train cars, cargoes, and railroad employees. The deceptively simple rhymes convey a great deal of information, and the fanciful collages contribute sly humor: Venetian gondoliers ride on gondola cars; a coal car belongs to the "Naughty and Nice Coal Co."; and large rats toting briefcases and newspapers hurry along with the human commuters in the New York City subway. The energetic design, with varying typefaces and layouts, reinforces the power and excitement of trains. When freights "rumble, rock, and ROAR," the letters of the word roar
increase in size from the first R
to the last, just as the roar of a real freight becomes louder as the train approaches. Take this along on a long trip to keep children occupied, or share it at storytime; make sure to give listeners an opportunity to peruse the art for the humor hidden in the details. Diane FooteCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved