Take a ride on subway trains all around the world. Beginning in Cairo, a multicultural group of children rides the trains in ten cities, zigzagging from stop to stop around the globe. The brief text is in serviceable near-verse (“Rumbling, roaring— / blurring speed. / Silver bullet. / Rushing breeze”), but barely registers against Ramá’s vibrant digital collages of watercolor art. Vivid colors and blurred lines evoke a bustling cheer. Cleverly composed to suggest both depth and action, the pictures tell most of the story: Atlanta’s dark tunnels, Chicago’s El (a slight deviation from the underground theme), jazz combos in the Stockholm stations and so on, an iconic ticket indicating from place to place where readers and riders are. The book ends with crisp thumbnail portraits of the subways in the cities, which also include London, Mexico City, Moscow, New York, Tokyo and Washington, D.C. The offbeat idea is deftly handled and should trigger further study. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-58089-111-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2009


Wormell (Blue Rabbit and the Runaway Wheel, see above) seamlessly blends landscape and playscape in this tale of a wonderfully catastrophic train wreck. As if it’s not bad enough that blubbery Mrs. Walrus, Mr. Bear, and Mrs. Elephant forcibly wedge themselves into the train’s tiny cars for a shopping trip into town, on their return they’re carrying 600 sardines, 15 loaves of bread, pots of honey, and a mountain of fresh fruit. “ ‘It’s just a matter of balance,’ ” Mrs. Elephant cheerfully assures the worried conductor. Indeed it is—until a bee crawls up Mrs. Elephant’s trunk, prompting a monumental sneeze. Groceries are scattered everywhere. What to do? Invite everyone to a picnic! Rather than his usual polychrome woodcuts, Wormell creates soft-edged, colored-pencil drawings here for a “younger,” softer look, depicting a simply carved wooden train sturdily pulling three hilariously overloaded cars. Afterward, willing trunks and flippers reset the tumbled cars onto their tracks, and off the train chugs, leaving the bloated picnickers strewn about like beached whales. Ending on a peaceful, satiated note, this explosive episode makes a first-rate entry in the annals of picture-book sneezes. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83986-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2000


The creator of This Train (1999), This Plane (2000), and This Boat (2001) will continue to transport new and pre-readers with an array of vehicles at work and play. Between endpapers filled with paintings of identified autos, from the Benz Victoria (1893) to the jet-powered Thrust SSC (1997), Collicutt sandwiches larger generic portraits, each of a different type of car: big, small, powered by gas or solar energy, plowing snow, romping about on the Moon, and so on. With short, large-type captions focusing on contrasts—“This car has a closed top. This car has an open top”—and a rousing final close-up of an old-style racing car barreling past, this has everything but sound effects to please fans of wheeled and winged zoomers. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2002

ISBN: 0-374-39965-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2002

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