cover image MY SUBWAY RIDE


Paul DuBois Jacobs, Jennifer Swender, The New York Transit Museum, , illus. by Selina Alko. . Gibbs-Smith, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-58685-357-0

"The city is the body,/ the subway is the blood,/ running through/ tunnel veins" acts as a kind of refrain in this free-form verse that seems to rock and roll like a subway on the tracks. Dubois (Abiyoyo Returns , co-written with Pete Seeger) and Swender, his wife, conduct a whirlwind underground tour of the Big Apple, tipping their hats to tourist attractions along the way: Yankee Stadium on the 4 train ("Boys of summer,/ house that Ruth built"), Coney Island on the Q, and Times Square—where "transfer is available" nearly anywhere. Alko (Show and Tell Rose ) riffs on their words with an upbeat expressionism reminiscent of urban murals and gives a nod to the stations' mosaics. Together, text and artwork capture a delicious sensory overload—the train makes a music all its own ("squeak and squeal and screech") while passengers and stops become a blur of "coming and going, going and coming." Alko imagines the subway sailing up the spine of a dinosaur skeleton at the Museum of Natural History and zooming down Coney Island's legendary Cyclone roller-coaster. The unseen narrator states the trip is not always smooth ("Red signals up ahead") and the accommodations aren't luxurious ("Excuse me!" pipes one of the "sea of faces" crammed into a car). Readers may well feel as if they've been on a magical mystery tour that hits exotic places and that winds up in the best place of all: "My stop,/ my home." Ages 4-8. (Sept.)