Children's LiteratureChildren are fascinated with trains. Lionel makes model railroads. Why not combine these with counting�something adults like to encourage�plus circus elements in a train-shaped board book? Doolittle's attempt to do just that in a "Little Lionel " series book has mixed results. Torrey's illustrations are colorful, with whimsical characters in period dress watching a steam locomotive pull several varieties of train cars. Each page has the counting number on the top�"l One Powerful Locomotive, 2 Two Splashing Elephants" and so on. The text at the bottom of the pages, however, contains words much too complex for a board book "reader." Obviously patterned after the patter of a circus ringmaster, "You'll be entertained by the pranks of performing pachyderms!" or "You will shout, 'Encore!' for our doggies and their canine gymnastics," these fanciful sentences are bound to sail over the heads of toddlers, even if the reader is very dramatic. Many young children are afraid of clowns, yet ten "silly clowns" are on the book's last two pages. Preschool teachers or care providers would need to analyze their listening audience carefully before reading this book aloud to a group of children. Readers may opt for the counting part only. 1999, Little Simon/Simon and Schuster. Ages 1 to 3. Reviewer: Judy Crowder
Lionel Trains come to life on the pages of this board book -- perfect for the young train lover.
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