I've Been Working on the Railroad:: I've Been Working on the Railroad: An American Classic

Nadine Bernard Westcott, Author, Mary Ann Hoberman, Author, Nadine Wescott, Author Hyperion Books $13.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7868-0053-7
Matched with perky illustrations, the spirited, on-the-job lyrics to this ever-popular American folk song serve as narrative to a lighthearted, contemporary train journey that pays homage to traditional railroad imagery. A singing trio-banjo and harmonica players and a guitarist-climb on board, setting the musical atmosphere. Driven by a cheerful, waving engineer, a boy and his dog, the train chugs its way through idyllic, pastel-colored suburbs, a billboarded desert and hilly, rural expanses. The line ""Can't you hear the whistle blowing?"" is humorously aimed at a herd of wary-looking cows grazing on and around the tracks, while the legendary horn-blowing Dinah is proprietress of a whistle-stop cafe (painted an eye-catching pink, it's visible from a distance). The musical trio joins her in the kitchen for a rousing, customer-participation song and dance finale. Complete lyrics and musical score are included in the back, along with brief mention of the song's late-19th-century provenance. A worthy interpretation. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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