cover image Here Comes the Train

Here Comes the Train

Charlotte Voake. Candlewick Press (MA), $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-0438-7

The reassurance and serenity that emanate from Voake's (Ginger) airy, squiggly but somehow poised watercolor-and-ink drawings prove a perfect foil for this subject: the thrill of a train's passing as it utterly, deliciously shatters the calm, and the afterglow when calm is restored. Riding their bicycles, Chloe, William and their dad pause atop the footbridge over the railroad tracks in the middle of the woods. The excitement builds as more and more people gather and the far-off train draws close: ""Louder and louder, nearer and nearer it comes! Sparks shoot out from its wheels!"" When the train finally does pass underneath with a thunderous ""whoosh,"" Voake suddenly breaks from her wide-angle framing, catching both the surge of the machine below and the collection of feet huddled together above. The text is spot-on in capturing the mood of a largely young crowd in the face of technological bravado: ""Chloe SCREAMS because she thinks [the bridge] will fall down. All the other children scream because they like screaming!"" Voake never reveals any more about the characters than their love of noisy trains. But she doesn't need to: this is all about the sheer, giddy joy of the moment, communicated here in phrases and art that even the youngest readers will respond to. Ages 2-5. (Sept.)