cover image Hamish Takes the Train

Hamish Takes the Train

Daisy Hirst. Candlewick, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1659-2

Hamish the bear and Noreen the goose live an idyllic life on a pretty hillside, but the trains that speed by heading to the city intrigue Hamish, and with Noreen’s blessing, he follows the tracks until the green countryside gives way to streets populated entirely by humans. A chance encounter and act of kindness leads to a dream job as a crane operator (Hamish’s species isn’t an issue), and he discovers just how big the world is beyond his cottage: “From the top of the crane, Hamish could see the entire city and the green and blue beyond its edge. He could even see the curve of the earth.” But what starts as a classic adventure becomes something wonderfully different: instead of being confronted with an exclusionary choice, Hamish realizes he can keep a job he loves without sacrificing Noreen’s friendship—a bond re-cemented by a joint train excursion to the seashore. With loose, softly colored pencil and ink renderings that carry out an offbeat, reflective mood, Hirst (Alphonse, That Is Not OK to Do!) opens up the possibility that life, like the world Hamish sees from the crane, is big enough to accommodate all kinds of choices. Ages 3–7. [em](Sept.) [/em]