Mr. Complain Takes the Train

Wade Bradford, illus. by Stephan Britt. Clarion, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-544-82981-7
Mr. Complain, a dour, pink-skinned gentleman sporting a green suit and hat, is traveling by animal-populated train to his vacation destination; the only human aboard, he’s not a happy camper. The bright pink train is too loud, his seat is too lumpy, and he’s tickled by a passel of pig passengers. “Don’t worry!” the amiable ostrich conductor tells Mr. Complain, but the journey gets goofier and goofier: as callouts in the boisterous, mixed-media illustrations urge the reader to tilt the book this way and that, the train goes up a bridge, through a diamond mine, past a volcano, and into the ocean. His fellow passengers gleefully slip and slide and fly through the air, but when the conductor announces that the final leg of this crazy ride involves a loop-de-loop, it seems all but certain that Mr. Complain is going to blow his stack. Instead, he exclaims “YA-HOOOOOOO!” and decides to remain on the train rather than get off at the grim-looking Dullsville. Bradford (There’s a Dinosaur on the 13th Floor) and Britt (Over in the Hollow) make the idea of “rolling with it” vivid and endearingly silly—who knew that building resilience could be such a good time? Ages 4–7. Agent (for Bradford and Britt): Abigail Samoun, Red Fox Literary. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/25/2020
Release date: 02/16/2021
Genre: Children's
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