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NEW BABY TRAIN by Woody Guthrie


by Woody Guthrie & illustrated by Marla Frazee

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-316-07203-6
Publisher: Megan Tingley/Little, Brown

Rather than airborne transport of newborns by the stork, singer and songwriter Woody Guthrie imagined distribution of infants by a special-delivery train. The words to his song serve as the text for this whimsical view of toddlers riding in an old-time train on their way to their new families. An older boy with a guitar (recalling a young Woody, perhaps) hops aboard, helps the conductor with childcare, and then returns home with one of the babies as a new addition to his own large family. Frazee uses gouache on speckled tan paper that mimics brown paper sacks, conveying a nostalgic flavor of Depression-era Dust Bowl farms with flat fields, tiny houses, and big, loving families, and her interpretation of the train effectively shows its special powers with varying perspectives. Unfortunately, as charming as the illustrations are, this train isn’t bound for glory, as there is no music included for the unfamiliar song (which was only recently recorded for the first time) and the lyrics are not particularly successful as text to be read aloud. (Picture book. 3-6)