Kirkus Reviews QR Code
TRAIN RIDE by John Steptoe Kirkus Star


by John Steptoe

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1971
ISBN: 0060257733
Publisher: Harper & Row

The boys from Uptown visit "the city" in another of Steptoe's forcefully illustrated stories in the idiom of Harlem. The boys are sitting on the stoop, goading each other about taking the train downtown, when "'Ow! I'm gonna tell y'all's moms that y'all are gonna go sneak on the train and go to the city!' Chickie yelled. So we decided to go." On 42nd Street they see "funny lookin' people with a lot of funny lookin' clothes on," look in store windows, and play the machines in the penny arcade. Then "Oh, wow! Look at what time it's! 11 o'clock! I bet Chickie told on us." They talk their way into a free train ride home; "when we got back. . .the block was real quiet and dark;" each boy is afraid to enter his own apartment, and sure enough, all get "the worst beatin's we ever had." Next day, "'We'll probably do it again,' I said. '. . .I'll take y'all up there again, cause it was a boss time.'" The pictures glow with Steptoe's distinctive vitality; the adventure is related just as a child would experience it. Even strangers to the city will want to go along.