Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books


Spring 2008 Picture Books
Ages: 3 - 5 yrs.
Author: Barbara Lehman
ISBN: 978-0-618-75640-7
Hardcover Price: $16.00
The long horizontal format of this wordless picture book is perfect for a story about a train, especially one that includes a journey into an imaginary world and back again. Readers first encounter the book's young heroine and her parents on the title page striding briskly towards a set of stairs descending through the pavement to an as yet unknown destination. As it turns out, they are headed into an underground train station where the parents patiently share a newspaper while their daughter stares eagerly down the curving track. In contrast to the muted colors of the cityscape and the interior of the train, the girl is easy to spot throughout in her red and yellow striped tee shirt, her bright green pants and her blue sneakers-colors which are a harbinger of mysterious things to come. As the train emerges from a tunnel, the scene through the window suddenly changes to an emerald and azure landscape dotted with apple tress, windmills, hot air balloons, and more. A flagman stops the train, and as the other passengers doze in what has to be an enchanted sleep, the adventure begins. A bevy of Lilliputian people leads the way to a terrible accident: a tiny wind-up plane and its pilot are snagged on a high branch. What to do, what to do? But never fear, a child can be a giant in a land of wee-folk and all ends well with a rescue and a fond farewell. A denouement of sorts finds the pilot and his passenger aloft again, this time delivering a tiny plant to their oversized friend. As is true with all of Lehman's books, her wordless storytelling is meticulous, her color palette carefully calibrated, and her vision magical-right down to the last page where, between the drab buildings, on the steps of fire escapes, and atop the roofs, full grown trees hung with apples have quietly appeared.
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard   ©2008 Parents' Choice
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard is the Coordinator of Youth Services for the Arlington Public Library system. She has taught courses on children’s and young adult literature at the Catholic University of America and the University of Virginia. She has served on both the Newbery and Caldecott Award Committees of the American Library Association and has chaired the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee and the May Hill Arbuthnot Award Committee. She is a member and past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC and has chaired the Washington Post–Book Guild Nonfiction Award Committee. She is a founding member of Capitol Choices, an organization of professionals in the field of children’s literature in the greater Washington DC area. She regularly reviews children’s literature and audio productions for a variety of national publications.

Look for this product at:
Houghton Mifflin/Walter Lorraine Books
Barnes and Noble

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