Top critical review
16 people found this helpful
I'm reading more into this than other people, I guess
on August 5, 2001
My son loves trains and I collect train books to read to him. Due to the rave reviews I'd read here and at another source, I purchased this book. What none of the reviews said is this: the storyline is that train driven by humans goes around picking up baby animals while the parents wave goodbye to them. They go to a "children's zoo" and a schoolbus and school teacher arrive with young human children. They all play together, that is the end.
I guess I don't understand why the baby animals are being taken away from their famiies. All I could think of was that this is like preparing our children to separate from parents, as in, going to daycare. I don't like the emphasis on the separation. I do understand why the children are in school, obviously to get an education. To me this is a message to the children I am reading this book to: that human children should be separating from their parents and spending the day with other similarly aged children. I would have preferred to see animals in general getting on the train, or the human children getting on the train to go a normal zoo with the usual animal families. I enjoy books where the family unit is intact and where the parents are happily interacting with their children.
I also don't like that one baby animal carries a "lovey" blanket and one boy does also. I just don't like "lovey" objects as they are usually initiated by the parent as a way for the baby or young child to provide nighttime comfort and to self-soothe with (when the parent is not co-sleeping to provide the historically normal parenting comfort). Animals all sleep together (as many humans do) so I especially am bothered by that illustration of the baby animal with a "lovey".
A side note, I am not interested in the school association as I am homeschooling. Not everyone sends their children to school and not every child rides on a big yellow schoolbus! Couldn't the entire family be visiting the animals in the zoo rather than making this associated with separating the human children from their parents (even if it is to go to public school)?
The words are fun and my son does love this book. It is the underlying message that I don't agree with.