A locomotive slides along a continuous slot that winds its way through a series of settings.
Instructions on the rear cover are required reading. The journey begins by pushing the small plastic toy parked on the last page through a tunnel in the heavy board leaves to the front. “As sunrise glows red on the bay,” the pinned locomotive can then be pushed along on a looping course to the edge of the page and (with a tricky but, with practice, smooth transition) around the overleaf to a “desert bright with orange clay.” The ride continues across a flat prairie farm, up a green mountainside, down through a twilit town, and past city skyscrapers to a railyard—whereupon the slot loops back around to the beginning. It’s all about the gimmick; aside from a distant rider on a horse in the desert scene, the landscapes are empty of human figures and, being as generic as the accompanying rhyme throughout, much of anything else to look at or for. The engine has no moving parts, nor does it pull any cars, and while it won’t fall out of the slot on its own, little fingers won’t have much trouble pulling it free.
A clever idea, but it’s not likely to need more than a one-way ticket. (Novelty board book. 3-5)