And the Train Goes…



And the Train Goes…
  by William Bee.

This picture book is filled with the noises of a train station, from the ticking of the station clock to the call of the station master to the whistle of the train.  The entire text works together with a subtle rhythm of life and action combined with a style both vintage and quirky.  Turning the pages takes readers down the length of the train, seeing soldiers on parade, school children, businessmen, and chefs.  Each group of people matches the style of the train car they are on, creating a vibrant tableau of color and faces. 

Add this to the large collection of books on trains, but realize that this is a real winner of a read aloud.  It would be my first choice for train read aloud due to its large and bright art and the evocative text. 

Framed

Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Dylan is the only boy in the Welsh village where his family owns the garage.  There is no chance to play football anymore now that his last male classmate has left.  The only claim to fame the village has is that it has the lowest crime rate in Britain, and that is attributed to the fact that it also has the highest rainfall.  But things are about to change in the quiet village, because of the secret at the top of the mountain.  Who would have thought that a single secret could change people entirely, create color where there was none, inspire new endeavors, and rock the comfortable but dull world that Dylan lives in?

This book is pure magic, just as Cottrell Boyce’s first book, Millions was.  The entire book has a warmth, a coziness, but also has plenty of mystery and magic.  The language of the book welcomes readers in, shares a laugh, and moves gently onward.  The characterizations of everyone is deep and meaningful, down to even the people of the village who play very secondary roles.  Everyone has an aspect of their personality that is surprising but rings very true. 

I loved the inclusion of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as the cusp of the story. But best of all was the message that art really does change lives, in ways that those who love it most may not understand.  The inspiration characters took from art is what makes this book sing.  Gloriously.

I listened to the book on CD, and the narrator, Jason Hughes, is extraordinary.  I would never have been able to read the book with a Welsh accent in my head, and it was a treat to listen to it.  Some narrators simply read the book, but Hughes has added a bit of himself into it and brought the entire story to life.  Lovely.

Highly recommended for children ages 10-13, this book will welcome them to a world they have never been before but will recognize immediately.