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Clickety Clack (Picture Books) Hardcover – April 26, 1999

4.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Buoyant and full of childlike fun, this first book for the husband-and-wife authors as well as the illustrator takes a simple premise and goes full steam ahead. Cumulative verse introduces a train's posse of passengers, all of them noisy: "Elephants stomp in two big packs/ And the troupe of ducks goes quack quack quack/ While dancing around the acrobats/ Who sing on the cars with talking yaks,/ And a red caboose is in the back/ Of the little black train going down the track./ Clickety clack, clickety clack." Mayhem threatens when two mischievous mice light fireworks on the roof of the cabooseAbut Driver Zach quickly restores order (and quiet) by telling everyone to "pipe down" or "we'll change our tack./ We'll stop going forward... and we'll head right back." Spengler, having made the most of the passengers' high jinks, brings fun even into the silencing sequence. The ducks hold wings to beaks, as if whispering "Shh!" and the assembly appears just to be biding time until the next uproar (the final scene shows a third prankish mouse scrambling to join the train). The deeply saturated colors recall the intensity of Robert Bender's illustrations, but the lines are looser and the compositions have their own puckish sensibility. Kids will enjoy the good-natured decrescendo just as much as the invitation to turn up the volume. Ages 4-8. (May)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2-The Spences build their story around tried-and-true motifs. As "A little black train goes down the track./Clickety clack, clickety clack," more and more passengers are added, ? la John Burningham's Mr. Gumpy's Motorcar (Crowell, 1976), and the noise level increases as well, ? la Ann McGovern's Too Much Noise (Houghton, 1967). The first passengers are talking yaks, who are joined by singing acrobats, quacking ducks, and a few stomping elephants for good measure. When two mice set off fireworks, the engineer has had enough and threatens to turn the train around. Properly chastened, the whole menagerie quiets down and the book trails off with just the "clickety clack" of the wheels. The action is set to a driving rhyme scheme. Spengler's richly hued paintings make the most of the humorous situations. The double-page spreads are crammed with roly-poly characters. The ending is a bit of a downer in that the travelers all look so sad after the engineer yells at them, in marked contrast to the good time they were having.
Judith Gloyer, Milwaukee Public Library
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Series: Picture Books
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile; Library Binding edition (April 26, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670879460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670879465
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.4 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,091,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
We stumbled upon this book at the California Train Museum in Sacramento about 5 months ago and have been completely entralled with this masterpiece ever since. Not only are the illustrations vibrant and entertaining, the text offers a very special attribute: the rhyme actually has a train rhythm. Pulling out of the station the train clicks along at a slow pace, "The little black train goes down the track. Clickety clack, clickety clack." As the text tells who is on the train (yaks, acrobats, ducks, elephants...) and what they are doing (talking, singing, quacking, stomping...) it builds to a frantic speed until "two mice light fireworks" and give Driver Zach a "headache attack." At that point the "rhythm" of the "train" begins to slow as the passengers calm down and behave themselves and the train settles into an even-paced canter and leaves Driver Zach with a smile on his face. My then pre-2 year old had this book memorized within the first week and still asks for it daily. Another thing we found fun is to read it while whispering -- the rhythm is accentuated when you whisper and my son thinks it is especially funny. I cannot give this book more than 5 stars, unfortunately, but think that one that includes great artwork, catchy rhyming text, and incorporates a train rhythm to boot should be at the top of any train and/or rhythm and rhyme lover's book list.
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By A Customer on July 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
My little girl absolutely loves this book. No matter what else may be going on, when asked if she'd like to read a story, she will jump up and start yelling for "Clickety Clack". She love this story so much and the dialog is so easy to understand that she has the book memorized, pretty much word for word. This is a great book, the words work so well with one another and the variety of characters so diverse, there are yacks, ducks, acrobats and mice all of whom manage to drive driver Zack pretty crazy!
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By A Customer on April 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I hate to go against most of the other reviews but I wasn't all that excited by this one. My daughters who like trains weren't either.
The illustrations were warm and fun and the rhyming was well done. I guess I really didn't like the story line. It was a bit of a downer. Everyone is having fun on the train and the engineer says he's got a headache and unless everyone is quiet, he'll turn the train around. So by the end the engineer is happy but everyone else looks kind of sad.
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Format: Hardcover
As a teacher of 2 year olds, I can strongly recommend this book! This was by far their favorite book. They started reciting the "Clickety, Clack" line, and soon had the entire book memorized. My own 2 year old would recite the book at the grocery store. It is so catchy and a lot of fun!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This rhyming book was read to many preschoolers who asked to read it again and again. Pictures are very colorful. The story is very cute! We made up a fingerplay to match the story!

Whenever I went to the library to check it out I needed to place a hold it. Because of this I finally bought it. The children are so glad[ASIN:0670879460 Clickety Clack (Picture Books)] it is available daily.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Puffin REALLY needs to reprint this book. Make sure that you get the Picture Puffins version of the book rather than the Scholastic version. Puffin prints on glossier paper so the color illustrations really pop from the page. I was really, really disappointed with the Scholastic version. The cadence of the book is that of a train going faster and faster and then slower and slower. It is truly amazing. As you read, you find yourself reading faster and it sounds like the cadence of a train. Once you reach the climax of the story, where Driver Zach yells for everyone to quiet down, the cadence of the story gets slower and slower. I would purchase this book for every child I know.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The pictures are darling, but it's the rhythm of the words that pulls you in. By the end of the book, you can whisper the clickety clacks and it sounds like train wheels.

Very engaging book. I like it, the big brother likes it, and the little brother goes crazy for it. They recite it in the car. We also play around with the book to find other short-vowel "a" words in the pictures -- hat, platform, cat, bag, giraffe, trash can (all on the cover).

The illustrations are terrific. They are very clear and full of humor.
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Format: Paperback
Length: 0:43 Mins
Cullen [....] reviews this book and gives you ideas on how to use to use it interactively with your child. For you I have more video book reviews, free children videos and free activity idea videos at [...]. If you have a children's book you would like me to review and offer ideas on how to use it interactively with children please send an email to [...]. Also, feel free to to add me, Cullen Wood, as a Facebook friend.
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