cover image The Whistle on the Train

The Whistle on the Train

Margaret McNamara, , illus. by Richard Egielski. . Hyperion, $18.99 (16pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-4890-4

Here's a great concept, handsomely executed. Take a song known to virtually every preschooler, “The Wheels on the Bus,” and update it with a vehicle much more widely adored by this group, a train, then soup it up with lavish but resilient paper engineering. Involving plenty of repetition, McNamara's lyrics are easy to learn, so kids can “read” this to themselves if they wish, and extra-sturdy paper stock should make their explorations safe. The pop-ups, mostly stationary, are multidimensional renderings of Egielski's cheery cartoons: a pop-up train (with a separate row of pop-up passengers inside) rests aboard a track drawn on one spread; in front of the track, several rows of people pop up, and a porter wheels a three-dimensional trolley. A pop-up city includes a trestle bridge, and on one spread readers can look through windows to see the engineer. Whoo whoo! Ages 2–5. (Sept.)