Whoo! Whoo! Goes the Train

Anne F. Rockwell, Author, Vanessa Van Der Baan, Illustrator
Anne F. Rockwell, Author, Vanessa Van Der Baan, Illustrator , color by Vanessa van der Baan. HarperCollins $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-056227-4
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Color and sound propel Rockwell's story of a train-crazy cat. Allan loves everything about trains—especially the noises they make—and he even lines up his cereal to resemble railroad cars: “He'd go 'Whooooo-whooo!' so that he sounded just like a train—sometimes with his mouth full.” Allan is ecstatic when his parents surprise him with his first-ever train ride. Rockwell (Big George ) credibly conveys the young cat's enthusiasm (“Walking between the cars was noisy and shaky and exciting”), and readers will similarly sense Allan's letdown as the train slows to a stop, though the cat's disappointment is short-lived. They have arrived in “Trainland,” and “everywhere he looked Allan saw trains going this way and that.” Animation artist van der Baan's coloring imbues Rockwell's art with a dazzling palette and almost painterly textures (in one scene, the gleaming train rides over a stone and metal bridge, with boaters and fishermen in the creamy purple water below). Though the plot is thin, younger train enthusiasts should appreciate and enjoy the journey. Ages 3–7. (July)

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