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All Aboard! Hardcover – September 1, 2002

5.0 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although the heroine of this tale is never mentioned in the text, Hirao (How the Fisherman Tricked the Genie) shows her waiting at the station with her mother, carrying a stuffed white rabbit in her backpack. Riding by herself on an overnight train to meet her grandparents, the girl finds comfort in imagining that her stuffed rabbit, Mr. Barnes, is a human-sized, confident rider of the rails, and that all the other passengers are animals. Mr. Barnes, dressed in a dapper purple suit, becomes the girl's mentor in navigating the amenities of a sleeper car, proper etiquette in the dining car and passing the time. With pleasingly repetitive, elliptic prose, Ray (Basket Moon) emulates the rhythm of the rails. When a freight car flashes by, it makes a staccato impression: "Boxcar, coal car, tank car, flatcar. Red red yellow green yellow yellow blue green." The child's observations rock back and forth, trainlike, between pretend and reality. For instance, when Mr. Barnes looks out the window, he "likes to see the between. The between where he's come from and where he goes to." Hirao's cut-paper and colored-pencil illustrations take the girl's reveries to their fully imagined possibilities. The train's exterior becomes a silver tube gracefully undulating through rolling countryside and around a glamorous city at night, "strung with lights... like a tug of dreams on a river. Only the engineer sees. And maybe someone who watches, awake, out a window." Here readers view the rabbit and girl companions peering out at a diner, billboards and a yellow cab. The skewed angles of the train's interior comically emphasize how the cramped, swaying quarters creates a dense but genial community of travelers (a giraffe in business attire talks on a cell phone and works on a laptop, a mole reads Holes). Upon the girl's safe arrival, Mr. Barnes shrinks back to toy size; readers, however, will undoubtedly want him to grow again for a return trip-and soon. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3-"Whoonk whoonk wahooonk. The train starts slow. But then it begins to roll. Long train, silver train-." Soon, a large white rabbit named Mr. Barnes prepares himself for bed, climbs into his sleeper, and lets the rhythm of the train lull him to sleep. Through the countryside and the city, the train rolls on as the passengers awaken. In the dining car, Mr. Barnes orders a carrot muffin, and his fellow travelers, including a small African-American girl in a pink dress who's always by his side, eat their breakfasts as well. The trip and the day continue. A mole reads a book, a pig listens to a Walkman, two hippos take photos out the window. It's only when Mr. Barnes arrives at his destination-a warm spot with palm trees and an older human couple waiting patiently-that Mr. Barnes's true size and nature are revealed. He's the little girl's stuffed rabbit who had become as real as any beloved toy can become during the journey. This clever melding of real and imagined perfectly mimics the sensibilities and perceptions of young children. The sound words, repeated often throughout the text, as well as the swirling, curving lines of the cut-paper and colored-pencil illustrations, blend together well. A great choice for storytimes and lap-time sharing.
Jane Marino, Scarsdale Public Library, NY
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 1 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (September 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316735078
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316735070
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 0.5 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,666,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Barnes, a slightly mysterious rabbit in a blue suit, goes on a train ride in this incredibly engaging and original book. "All Aboard" combines old-fashioned sensibilities (the first few pages evoked 1950's illustrations to me) with a rarely seen sophistication in the test and illustrations. I loved it.

Amiko Hirao's dazzling pictures draw the reader right into the center of the story. You are immersed in the huge color displays, and the cinematic collages and low and high picture angles. Without showing a single step, she conveys both the upper berth and the aisle of a train; she inserts cut pictures of faces into a colored-pencil nightscape; she startles us with an immense dark tunnel. In one particularly original picture, a child looks directly at the reader, a passenger (only the right arm is shown) reads a yellowed newspaper with the headline "Olivia is Born," and a cuff-linked giraffe talks on a cell phone-it's dreamlike, a little noir film in day-glow colors.

Mary Lyn Ray's writing also combines the traditional and the original. There are familiar repetitions and rhythms (although look how she punctuates the following):

Whoonk whoonk wahooomk. The trains start slow.
But then it begins to roll.
Long train, silver train. Long train, silver train.
Long train. Silver train. Long train. Silver train.
Train, train, train, train.
Whooo whoooooo

and there are phrases that convey imagery and metaphor: Baggaged boxes "sleep," and, as the train rolls along: "A city slides by, strung with lights in the night, like a tug of dreams on a river." Similarly, one page has the familiar cadence of " A freight flashes by...Red red yellow green yellow yellow blue green. Vrooom. Vroom. Vroom," but the next page describes how "Mr.
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Format: Hardcover
This book has a simple yet appealing story that kids can relate to (going on a journey, trains, a favorite stuffed animal and family). The language used is descriptive of a train sounds and fun to read. The illustrations are colorful, stylish and full of humorous detail (the mole's devotion to Crunch bars and reading books). I love reading this book almost as much as my three year old son does.
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Format: Hardcover
My three-year old son loves books about trains. The challenge is finding a book that I enjoy reading over and over as many times as he enjoys listening to the story. _All_Aboard_ has flowing text that is fun to read, and fun to hear. The writing begs to be read aloud, and the reader will feel an enticement to make the words roll off the tongue as rhythmically as the train rolls along the track.

A young girl takes a train ride with Mr. Barnes, her toy rabbit, to see Grandma and Grandpa. The journey is not only one of words and sound. Amiko Hirao has done an excellent job with the art work. The pictures will hold the attention of child and adult for there is much to discover visually as the train moves towards its destination.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My almost 4 year old son loves trains and he's really enjoyed reading this book. Being an African-American, it was also great to find a book with illustrations of African-American characters in a topic he's really interested in. Beautifully illustrated and a great story line.
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