Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Two Little Trains

Two Little Trains Margaret Wise Brown illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon

Two Little Trains
by Margaret Wise Brown
illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon

Ages 3-6

Publisher: HarperCollins

After reading Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears following CROCUS 2009, I came upon another book illustrated by the two-time Caldecott Medalists, the Dillons, called Two Little Trains.

It was bewildering at first to notice that the book was written by well-known Margaret Wise Brown, of the Good Night Moon fame, wondering how on earth... until it dawned on me that this 1949 treasure by Brown was republished in 2001 with the cleverly interpreted illustrations by the Dillons that attracted me to this book in the first place.

I have not seen the original publication, so, am not sure what illustrations accompanied that edition. But, this particular version is packed with clever visual parallels that makes it a treat.

A little colorful wooden toy train sits next to a gift box on the title page. Packed suitcases and a boxed/wrapped present wait on a platform where a train is about to board the passengers. Thus starts this wonderful journey:

Two little trains went down the track, Two little trains went west
With a puff, puff, puff and a chug, chug, chug, Two little trains to the west.

Each double page spread shows the two little trains undergoing similar adventures - one, a streamlined modern train with the passengers; the other, a classic wooden train, a toy for the little kid, the intended recipient of the boxed/wrapped present.

While the modern train is shown chugging along up the hill, through the tunnels in the mountains, and over the river with blobs of purple-gray oval trees, the toy train puffs along up the banister, through the "tunnel" made by a hard-bound book, and over a bathtub and on the kitchen counter near a bowl full of purple plums that match the size and shape of the purple-gray trees...

The illustrations and the rhythm of the text makes this book a treat to read. It is a bit challenging for me to describe in words the beautiful analogous images skillfully illustrated by the Dillons.

What's not to love about trains, especially if one is a toddler? I fell in love with this book after the first second read when I started noticing the pictures.

[image source: Harper Collins]


starry eyed said...

Love Margaret Wise Brown. This sounds like a book my 5 year old might like. Thanks for the review.

Have you read The Diggers again by the same author? It's also based on trains and tunnels...loved it.

sathish said...

very interesting. I like the idea of showing the two trains in tandem.

Meera Sriram said...

What a cool concept! I think this one will share the prized status that "the little engine that could" holds right now in my toddler's world:) Personally, very curious about what the 1949 version carried.

Choxbox said...

Awesome concept!

artnavy said...

Lovely. I think Anush and I would love it.

You know I still have my toy train from my childhood

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