I Can Make a Train Noise by Michael Emberley

Cover image for I Can Make a Train Noise.

I Can Make a Train Noise by Michael Emberley and Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick (9780823444960)

A little girl enters a crowded cafe with her family, insisting that she can make a train noise. As they take off their coats and sit at a table, the little girl continues to state that she can make a train noise, and that she will do it NOW! Jumping down from her chair, her imagination takes over as all of the customers form a line and quickly transform into passengers on a train. The train moves through a city formed from kitchen utensils, ketchup and mustard. It makes its way out in realistic oceanside settings and mountains with prairies. As the train slows to a stop, readers return to the bustling restaurant where everyone is talking about trains now.

This picture book is written in very simple lines, repeating “I can make a train noise” and “Now!” again and again. Using simple punctuation to slow the lines down or speed them up, the rhythm the repeating lines make is captivating and very impactful. This is a picture book that is ideal to share aloud and then share it again with the group joining in with the repeating lines. It’s a book that begs to be done aloud.

The illustrations are a large part of the success of this book. Given the simplicity of the text, they carry the weight of the story and the little girl’s imagination. I love the nod to In the Night Kitchen with the city made of condiments and kitchen gear. The transformation of cafe to train is joyous and fun, with everyone happily going along for the ride together. The speech bubbles in the cafe scenes are very effective and done only in images.

A grand ride on a little girl’s imagination. Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy provided by Neal Porter Books.