Thursday, May 8, 2008

Trainstop by Barbara Lehman - review

Trainstop by Barbara Lehman
I am not always completely gung-ho about Barbara Lehman's books. Oh, I like them myself, and I always spend a little while reading and admiring, and... then I put them back on the shelf. They're just not all that accessible to little kids, and bigger kids usually pooh-pooh them because they're wordless.

But Trainstop is a bit less abstract than The Red Book or Museum Trip. A little girl takes the subway with her parents, and after her parents doze off, the train stops at a beautiful land populated with adorable little people, who are possibly toys.

She gets back on the train, which continues on its regular route, but then is visited by a couple of the tiny people after she returns home.

In her author's note, my fellow Pratt alum Barbara Lehman mentions that she used to work for the Transit Authority, "making books about using the subways to get to school." There's a page in Trainstop that shows the little girl looking excitedly out the subway window as the subway goes through the city, into the tunnel, then out of the tunnel and into the sunny magic world. That's a page drawn by a person who loves the subway - I would recognize that kind of person anywhere.

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