With believable expressiveness in the characterizations of the trains and a scale perfect for groups, this affectionate...

HOW TO TRAIN A TRAIN

Train and pet enthusiasts alike will delight in this rollicking story about selecting, naming, soothing and caring for a full-sized locomotive.

The information in this “guidebook” is conveyed by a young expert clad in safari shorts, boots and pith helmet, with binoculars strung around his neck; an enormous freight train sits patiently on the other end of his leash. Friends demonstrate what’s involved in pet ownership: A blonde girl with pink fairy wings paints hearts and stars on her passenger train, Sparkles, while an African-American boy observes the dirt a train can track into the house. The recommended method to attract a pet train plays perfectly to kid logic: The tracker awakens early, hiding behind a desert cactus while the engines play. He arouses his subject’s interest with smoke signals, then proceeds to offer lumps of coal, compliments and encouraging “chugga-chuggas.” Rocco’s graphite, digitally colored compositions are a successful blend of striking, painterly spreads (the hero as engineer, speeding through the moonlit night) and humorous cameos. Eaton’s deadpan text allows maximum artistic freedom: “Start with a simple trick…” shows the engine rolling over; “then move on to something a bit harder” depicts Fido jumping through a flaming ring.

With believable expressiveness in the characterizations of the trains and a scale perfect for groups, this affectionate sendup communicates all the exasperation, responsibility and rewards of having a pet. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6307-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Not astonishingly go-out-and-buy-it-at-graduation inspirational, but all it takes is one seed of change to be planted.

GOING PLACES

Imagination soars—quite literally—when a little girl follows her own set of rules.

Every year Oak Hill School has a go-kart race called the Going Places contest. Students are given identical go-kart kits with a precise set of instructions. And of course, every single kart ends up exactly the same. Every one, that is, except Maya’s. Maya is a dreamy artist, and she would rather sketch birds in her backyard than get caught up in the competition. When she finally does start working, she uses the parts in the go-kart box but creates something completely different. No one ever said it had to be a go-kart. Maya’s creative thinking inspires Rafael, her neighbor (and the most enthusiastic Going Places contestant), to ask to team up. The instructions never say they couldn’t work together, either! An ode to creativity and individuality to be sure, but the Reynolds brothers are also taking a swipe at modern education: Endless repetition and following instructions without question create a culture of conformity. Hopefully now, readers will see infinite possibility every time the system hands them an identical go-kart box.

Not astonishingly go-out-and-buy-it-at-graduation inspirational, but all it takes is one seed of change to be planted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6608-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off.

TINY LITTLE ROCKET

This rocket hopes to take its readers on a birthday blast—but there may or may not be enough fuel.

Once a year, a one-seat rocket shoots out from Earth. Why? To reveal a special congratulatory banner for a once-a-year event. The second-person narration puts readers in the pilot’s seat and, through a (mostly) ballad-stanza rhyme scheme (abcb), sends them on a journey toward the sun, past meteors, and into the Kuiper belt. The final pages include additional information on how birthdays are measured against the Earth’s rotations around the sun. Collingridge aims for the stars with this title, and he mostly succeeds. The rhyme scheme flows smoothly, which will make listeners happy, but the illustrations (possibly a combination of paint with digital enhancements) may leave the viewers feeling a little cold. The pilot is seen only with a 1960s-style fishbowl helmet that completely obscures the face, gender, and race by reflecting the interior of the rocket ship. This may allow readers/listeners to picture themselves in the role, but it also may divest them of any emotional connection to the story. The last pages—the backside of a triple-gatefold spread—label the planets and include Pluto. While Pluto is correctly labeled as a dwarf planet, it’s an unusual choice to include it but not the other dwarfs: Ceres, Eris, etc. The illustration also neglects to include the asteroid belt or any of the solar system’s moons.

A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-18949-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: David Fickling/Phoenix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more