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Down by the Station

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Overview

Did you ever wonder who rides the zoo train early in the morning? Climb aboard and join the mischievous, sleepy, and playful baby animals on their way to the children's zoo. The engineer has to get them there before the first busload of children arrives . . . but these baby animals just want to have fun! This delightful adventure full of mishaps, daring rescues, and a runaway red balloon has a cumulative text and playful animal noises that will have readers singing along-if ...
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Overview

Did you ever wonder who rides the zoo train early in the morning? Climb aboard and join the mischievous, sleepy, and playful baby animals on their way to the children's zoo. The engineer has to get them there before the first busload of children arrives . . . but these baby animals just want to have fun! This delightful adventure full of mishaps, daring rescues, and a runaway red balloon has a cumulative text and playful animal noises that will have readers singing along-if they're not racing to the zoo to ride the train themselves.

In this version of a familiar song, baby animals ride to the children's zoo on the zoo train. Printed music on last page.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Cheerful and inviting, this is worth multiple readings: a joyful noise, indeed."—Booklist
"This twist on an old favorite combines sunny illustrations, playful humor, and appealing animals, making it a surefire selection for storytime success."—School Library Journal
"A happy book, filled with childhood exuberance."—Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hillenbrand's (The Golden Sandal) whimsical interpretation of a familiar song offers preschoolers a ticket to ride on an enjoyable excursion through a children's zoo. As an engineer makes repeated stops along the tracks, baby animals board a rainbow-tinted train. Each adds his or her own sound to the cumulative refrain: "Puff, puff,/ Toot, toot,/ Off we go!" from "Thrump, thrump" for the elephant calf to "Flip, flop" for the seal pup, building up a symphonic chorus that begs for audience participation. Hillenbrand shapes the simple song into a full-bodied story with a visual narrative populated by characters such as a kangaroo joey that jumps rope and a monkey that rescues a woman in the alligator pond via an upturned umbrella. The artwork foreshadows the creatures to come (e.g., a sign pointing to "Seal Island" appears on the spread before the seal pup's introduction), and the lyrics point up the unusual names of the animal offspring. Softly shaded but brightly colored, Hillenbrand's mixed media illustrations embrace an abundance of droll detail and gently outline landscapes in which the sky gradually changes from the pink hues of early morning to a glorious blue studded with cotton-candy clouds. All aboard for fun. Ages 3-6. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
"This whimsical interpretation of a familiar song offers preschoolers a ticket to ride on an enjoyable excursion through a children's zoo," PW wrote. Each new animal passenger adds to the cumulative refrain, "building up a symphonic chorus that begs for audience participation." Ages 3-7. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Carolyn Mott Ford
It is almost impossible to avoid a lilting rendition of this story, which is based upon the well-known song,. "Down by the station/early in the morning./See the little puffer-bellies/all in a row." There is the familiar refrain, but then in a whimsical manner, the engine driver stops for an elephant calf and "Puff puff/Toot toot/Thrump, thrump/Off we go." The little puffer-belly stops for other passengers as well, including a flamingo chick, a tiger cub, a seal pup, and a little kangaroo. The train chugs around the pond, where crocodiles snap their jaws, and safely delivers the little animals to the children's zoo. There are many details contained in the captivating illustrations, such as a toy train following along after the puffer-belly and a monkey reading over a young girl's shoulder, The pictures, along with the rhythmic text, should make this a book that toddlers will enjoy again and again. The words and music to the song are printed on the last page.
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
This is Will Hillenbrand's first book that he has both written and illustrated, and he does a splendid job with his own version of this children's song. A young girl clad in safari togs pulls up to the train station and boards the train for a ride through the zoo. This takes her to see elephants, flamingoes, panda bears, tigers, seals and kangaroos, while welcoming baby animals on board the train. Along the way there is a rescue, there are destinations to guess, and there is an accumulation of animal sounds to sing in the verse. The journey ends when the baby animals meet up with a school bus of children and frolic at the children's zoo. Hillenbrand's illustrations, created by using mixed media on both sides of vellum are bright and appealing, and certainly bring to mind the early work of Maurice Sendak. Preschoolers through fifth graders alike enjoyed having this book read to them and were game to sing along. We found we could predict where the train would stop next by using visual clues on each page, that there is a red balloon to watch throughout the book, and that there is a lot for an individual reader to look at later as well. Bravo, Will! Nice work! 1999, Gulliver Books/Harcourt Brace & Co., Ages 4 to 8, $15.00. Reviewer: Martha Shaw—Children's Literature
Kirkus Reviews
Hillenbrand takes license with the familiar song (the traditional words and music are reproduced at the end) to tell an enchanting story about baby animals picked up by the train and delivered to the children's zoo. The full-color drawings are transportingly jolly, while the catchy refrain—"See the engine driver pull his little lever"—is certain to delight readers. Once the baby elephant, flamingo, panda, tiger, seal, and kangaroo are taken to the zoo by the train, the children—representing various ethnic backgrounds, and showing one small girl in a wheelchair—arrive. This is a happy book, filled with childhood exuberance. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152167905
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Edition description: First Voyager Books Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 150,641
  • Age range: 5 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.00 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.14 (d)

Meet the Author

WILL HILLENBRAND has written and illustrated many award-winning picture books, including The House That Drac Built by Judy Sierra and his own Down by the Station. He lives in Terrace Park, Ohio.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book is a wonderful read-aloud, with catchy rhythms and repetitive text. It is based on the song 'Down by the Station' and includes words such as 'puff, puff, toot, toot' and even some inventions -- 'thrump, thrump.' Primarily from illustrations, the book tells of a train picking up baby animals for a day of fun, much like children being picked up for daycare, camp or school. The illustrations include ongoing background sub-stories that are fun to have a child track, with the parent asking such questions as: 'Where is the balloon on this page?' or 'Where is the monkey's umbrella on that page?' or 'Can you spot the school bus now?'. I would heartily recommend this for children ages 2-5, especially for cozy read-together sessions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2000

    Love the song, love this book!

    Down by the Station is a much-loved song in our household and this book lets us experience it in a fun, fresh way -- of course, we SING the words in the book, too. The baby animals are engaging. My daughter also likes to look for the red balloon in each spread.

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