cover image Underground Train

Underground Train

Mary Quattlebaum. Doubleday Books for Young Readers, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-385-32204-1

The creators of A Year on My Street tip their hats to Washingtonians in this affectionate glimpse of the nation's capital via the Metro rail system. The petite narrator, chicly clad in an oversize gray sweater and fuschia beret, boards the train with her mother. Their destination is Nana's home near the Cleveland Park exit, and on their ride they pass beneath the monuments of the Mall, the businesses and apartment buildings of Connecticut Avenue and the National Zoo. After disembarking, the narrator emerges from the Metro escalator onto a sidewalk where ""Nana waves at me."" Quattlebaum nicely conveys the sonorous ""Rrrruuuummm. Whoooosshh"" of the train's glide along the track, while Smith's evocative watercolors remind readers of the tunnels beneath the sidewalks. Poetic language (""Above the train, above my head, the busy city spreads"") and bright, recognizable images (one double-spread montage shows the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, Washington monument, the White House and the Capitol Building) give a sense of northwest Washington's hurried atmosphere, the city's multicultural commuters and the girl's excitement at riding the speedy silver train. Just the ticket for introducing young readers to our nation's capital city. Ages 5-8. (Nov.)