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Train Song
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About the Author

Diane Siebert is the author of Mojave, a 1988 Booklist Children's Editors' Choice, a 1988 Notable Children's Trade Book in Social Studies, and a 1989 Teachers Choice, and Heartland, a 1989 Booklist Children's Editors' Choice, a 1989 Notable Children's Trade Book in Social Studies, and a 1990 Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts. Ms. Siebert lives at Crooked River Ranch, Oregon. Mike Wimmer is the illustrator of a number of highly acclaimed picture books, including All the Places to Love, written by Patricia MacLachlan, and Train Song, written by Diane Siebert. He lives in Norman, Oklahoma.

Reviews

In the relentless rhythm of the rolling wheel, this book revels in the movement, sights, and sounds of train transport. Place names (Buffalo, Abilene, Seattle, North Platte) punctuate the short, punchy lines that propel listeners effectively, if somewhat mechanically, through the detailed description of freight and passenger trains, with their various cars, conductors, and engineers. The rhyme and rhythm will appeal to children, but the pictures are sure to persuade adults to sign on for a nostalgic ride through the past. Wimmer celebrates the bygone elegance of dining cars and the charm of vernacular architecture. A close look at his realistic paintings reveals the fluid brushwork and impressionistic use of reflected color carried by light: the steel rails reflect the sky, shadows are multicolor conjunctions. And the artist gains maximum mileage from layout. From the opening page, in which the train appears as a detail through the mesh of a screen door, Wimmer balances the predictable with the unexpected. Much of the drama is provided by the (generally low) viewpoint, or by the effective juxtaposition of close-up and distant views. Many children are loco about locomotives; if this book doesn't offer engine specs, it certainly tenders a paean to the romance of the railroad. --Patricia Dooley, University of Washington, Seattle

From boxcars to diners, from rural towns to city stations, the intriguing world of trains is evoked in this stunningly illustrated poem. As with Heartland and Truck Song , Siebert does not tell a story so much as present stunning images: the ``great trains / freight trains / talk about your late trains / the 509 / right on time / straight through to L.A.'' roar through tunnels and across the countryside. While the syntax and rhythms of the poem are not always immediately clear, Siebert's eclectic assemblage of details allows the reader to ``feel the rhythm'' and ``hear the sound'' of the trains. Wimmer's luminous, nostalgic paintings will enable readers to grasp the beauty and power of the trains and the landscape across which they travel, ``clickety-clacking / homeward bound.'' Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

"In the relentless rhythm of the rolling wheel, this book revels in the movement, sights, and sounds of train transport. The rhyme and rhythm will appeal to children, the pictures are sure to persuade adults to sign on for a nostalgic ride through the past [as] Wimmer celebrates the bygone elegance of dining cars and the charms of vernacular architecture. A paean to the romance of the railroad." --"School Library Journal

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