BEAR ON THE TRAIN by Julie Lawson


Age Range: 3 - 8
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The story line is simple: A bear gets on a train in late autumn, drawn by the smell of grain in its hoppers, and after a prolonged snack takes a prolonged snooze in the bowels of the hopper as the train crisscrosses the continent until springtime. Lawson’s words have a lovely elemental temper, spare, chiming, and timeless. “Bear paid no attention. He slept as the train rocked and rolled out of town. He slept through the mountains. He slept through the foothills. He slept through the prairie.” The train and the landscapes it runs through are beautifully rendered by Deines, with an impressionistic sense of place harnessed by the implacable energy of the locomotive and its train of cars. Unlike the tree in the forest, the bear does not go totally unnoticed; a boy named Jeffrey sees the bear get on the train and shouts a warning to get off; each time the train pulls through his home range that winter, Jeffrey hollers to the snoozing bear, and his words become as talismanic as the bear’s act of hibernation. When the bear lumbers off the train come spring, shuffling into the wild without a look back, all seems quite right with the world. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 1-55074-560-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Kids Can
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1999


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