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All Aboard!

All Aboard!

by Mary Lyn Ray, Amiko Hirao (Illustrator)
A little girl and her stuffed rabbit climb on the train before it leaves the city and travels through the day and the night, all the way to Grandma and Grandpa's house. Full color.


A little girl and her stuffed rabbit climb on the train before it leaves the city and travels through the day and the night, all the way to Grandma and Grandpa's house. Full color.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Although the heroine of this tale is never mentioned in the text, Hirao (How the Fisherman Tricked the Genie) shows her waiting at the station with her mother, carrying a stuffed white rabbit in her backpack. Riding by herself on an overnight train to meet her grandparents, the girl finds comfort in imagining that her stuffed rabbit, Mr. Barnes, is a human-sized, confident rider of the rails, and that all the other passengers are animals. Mr. Barnes, dressed in a dapper purple suit, becomes the girl's mentor in navigating the amenities of a sleeper car, proper etiquette in the dining car and passing the time. With pleasingly repetitive, elliptic prose, Ray (Basket Moon) emulates the rhythm of the rails. When a freight car flashes by, it makes a staccato impression: "Boxcar, coal car, tank car, flatcar. Red red yellow green yellow yellow blue green." The child's observations rock back and forth, trainlike, between pretend and reality. For instance, when Mr. Barnes looks out the window, he "likes to see the between. The between where he's come from and where he goes to." Hirao's cut-paper and colored-pencil illustrations take the girl's reveries to their fully imagined possibilities. The train's exterior becomes a silver tube gracefully undulating through rolling countryside and around a glamorous city at night, "strung with lights... like a tug of dreams on a river. Only the engineer sees. And maybe someone who watches, awake, out a window." Here readers view the rabbit and girl companions peering out at a diner, billboards and a yellow cab. The skewed angles of the train's interior comically emphasize how the cramped, swaying quarters creates a dense but genial community of travelers (a giraffe in business attire talks on a cell phone and works on a laptop, a mole reads Holes). Upon the girl's safe arrival, Mr. Barnes shrinks back to toy size; readers, however, will undoubtedly want him to grow again for a return trip-and soon. Ages 4-8 (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
This enchanting rail journey begins even before the title page, which is incorporated as the conductor's last boarding call. Mr. Barnes, a cheerful white rabbit in a purple suit and Panama hat, boards the train. He joins a host of other animals, (including a mole reading a book called Holes and eating a Crunch bar) and a young African American girl on a two day journey. The cut paper and colored pencil illustrations have flowing, rounded lines, evocative of the view from a moving train and are done in eye-catching colors. An excellent read aloud, children will love the portions of text that mimic train sounds, "A freight flashes by. Boxcar, coal car, tank car, flat car. Red red yellow green yellow yellow blue green." At last the final destination is reached and Mr. Barnes is revealed in his true size, as the comforting stuffed travel companion of the young girl. A lovely picture book, this belongs in any library with story time. 2002, Little, Brown and Company,
— Sharon Oliver
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-"Whoonk whoonk wahooonk. The train starts slow. But then it begins to roll. Long train, silver train-." Soon, a large white rabbit named Mr. Barnes prepares himself for bed, climbs into his sleeper, and lets the rhythm of the train lull him to sleep. Through the countryside and the city, the train rolls on as the passengers awaken. In the dining car, Mr. Barnes orders a carrot muffin, and his fellow travelers, including a small African-American girl in a pink dress who's always by his side, eat their breakfasts as well. The trip and the day continue. A mole reads a book, a pig listens to a Walkman, two hippos take photos out the window. It's only when Mr. Barnes arrives at his destination-a warm spot with palm trees and an older human couple waiting patiently-that Mr. Barnes's true size and nature are revealed. He's the little girl's stuffed rabbit who had become as real as any beloved toy can become during the journey. This clever melding of real and imagined perfectly mimics the sensibilities and perceptions of young children. The sound words, repeated often throughout the text, as well as the swirling, curving lines of the cut-paper and colored-pencil illustrations, blend together well. A great choice for storytimes and lap-time sharing.-Jane Marino, Scarsdale Public Library, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This fluid locomotive voyage starts rolling even before the title page with a "Choong. Choong. Choong. Choong," as readers follow the journey of Mr. Barnes, a large purple-suited rabbit, and his travel mate�a young girl. Ray (Red Rubber Boot Day, 2000, etc.) calmly alternates between characters� actions and striking descriptions: "A city slides by, strung with lights in the night, like a tug of dreams on a river." The language is rhythmic and rich with auditory treats, but sets a leisurely pace that could lose a young reader�s attention. Fortunately, the art is captivating; oversized pages are filled with striking scenes of countryside and urban landscapes, interesting perspectives, and clever details enough to require repeated explorations. Characters (who are all animals other than the girl) and objects in fuzzy pastels are collaged together within the train cars, creating a cozy potpourri that hits a safe note for inexperienced solo travelers. They�ll watch passengers read, snooze, snack, or just look out the window. It�s the perfect depiction of train travel: everyone "has somewhere to go" and yet is luxuriously suspended in time. The ending, though the reader gets a glimpse of a stuffed rabbit in the little girl�s backpack at the beginning of the story, comes as a delightful surprise that provides a nice punctuation to an otherwise uneventful ride. Mr. Barnes isn�t a tall, dapper fellow after all, but only a stuffed animal. When the girl departs the train and is greeted lovingly by her grandparents, Mr. Barnes again pokes out of her backpack, reminding readers both young and old that a train can take you anywhere your imagination is willing to go. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.32(w) x 10.32(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Mary Lyn Ray writes from the old farm where she lives, unless she's on a train. She is the author of the acclaimed Basket Moon, illustrated by Barbara Cooney, as well as many other picture books.

Amiko Hirao was born and raised in Japan, and completed a degree in art history before coming to the U.S. and graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design.

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