How to Train a Train

( 6 )

Overview

Everything you need to know about finding, keeping, and training your very own pet train.

Finding advice on caring for a dog, a cat, a fish, even a dinosaur is easy. But what if somebody’s taste in pets runs to the more mechanical kind? What about those who like cogs and gears more than feathers and fur? People who prefer the call of a train whistle to the squeal of a guinea pig? Or maybe dream of a smudge of soot on their cheek, not slobber? In this spectacularly illustrated ...

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Overview

Everything you need to know about finding, keeping, and training your very own pet train.

Finding advice on caring for a dog, a cat, a fish, even a dinosaur is easy. But what if somebody’s taste in pets runs to the more mechanical kind? What about those who like cogs and gears more than feathers and fur? People who prefer the call of a train whistle to the squeal of a guinea pig? Or maybe dream of a smudge of soot on their cheek, not slobber? In this spectacularly illustrated picture book, kids who love locomotives (and what kid doesn’t?) will discover where trains live, what they like to eat, and the best train tricks around—everything it takes to lay the tracks for a long and happy friendship. All aboard!

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Bruce Handy
…Jason Carter Eaton's deadpan prose is calibrated just-so. He wisely leaves the abundant belly laughs to John Rocco's paintings, which have their own zany style but also owe something to the absurdist scales and perspectives of the great Bruce McCall. Alarmed parents will be relieved to learn that trains make terrific pets, capable of learning tricks and amenable to baths, so next time the kids are begging, maybe skip the hamsters and go diesel.
Publishers Weekly
Styled as a get-to-know-your-pet guide, this manual teaches “everything you need to know to choose, track, and train your very own pet train.” Intricately detailed, digitally colored graphite illustrations picture boys and girls selecting between vintage iron horses and sleek diesel designs. Rocco (Blackout) styles the trains’ headlamps and windshields as friendly eyes and contrasts the engines’ bulk against their tiny doting masters. Wearing a pith helmet and desert gear, a boy narrator lures a steam train with lumps of coal and a “Chugga-chugga, chugga-chugga!” He knows he’s in luck when he hears an answering “Choo-choo!” Eaton (The Day My Runny Nose Ran Away) recommends train names from the ordinary to the hilarious (Nathan, Smokey, and Captain Foofamaloo) and suggests activities and tricks. “How will you know if the train you caught is the one? Don’t worry. You’ll know,” he writes, as a girl in red braids walks slowly along, whistling innocently, as a giant engine peers over a hill. An immersive experience for junior rail fans. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Victoria Sanders & Associates. Illustrator’s agent: Rob Weisbach Creative Management. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
Juxtaposing sensible tips with the absurdity of a huge pet locomotive creates a text that is at once believable and preposterous. ... But what really makes this concept roar down the track are the entrancing digitally colored illustrations that perfectly capture the expressiveness and playfulness of the pet trains. ... [T]his book is sure to be popular with train and pet lovers alike.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

Train and pet enthusiasts alike will delight in this rollicking story about selecting, naming, soothing and caring for a full-sized locomotive. ... With believable expressiveness in the characterizations of the trains and a scale perfect for groups, this affectionate sendup communicates all the exasperation, responsibility and rewards of having a pet.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Eaton’s tongue-in-cheek—and eminently enjoyable text—is matched by Rocco’s smooth and sleek artwork laced with whimsy.
—Booklist (starred review)

An immersive experience for junior rail fans.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Eaton's fanciful, funny text is perfectly accompanied by John Rocco's energetic illustrations. ... This book is sure to be a huge hit with young railroad enthusiasts everywhere.
—BookPage

The conversational text is exploded by John Rocco’s zany, digitally colored illustrations. Learn about how these mysterious beasts travel (freights move in herds, monorails alone) and what you need to trap them (big nets are good, quicksand works, but smoke signals are best). Eaton even explains how to soothe a jumpy engine: "Few trains can resist a read-aloud." Few kids, either — especially when the subject is trains and the words go "Rocka-rocka, clickety-clack" down the track.
—The Washington Post

I saved my favorite for last. 'How to Train a Train' is exactly that: a guidebook that teaches children how to capture and tame wild trains. ... Jason Carter Eaton's deadpan prose is calibrated just-so. He wisely leaves the abundant belly laughs to John Rocco's paintings, which have their own zany style...
—The New York Times Book Review

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
"So you want a pet train?" With this absurd premise, tongue in cheek, Eaton proceeds in the spirit of the typical cat or dog training manual to tell you "everything you need to know..." First you must pick the kind of train you want. Then you must catch it. Step by step he shows how to choose and stalk one. After offering it a compliment, "...make the call of the wild train: CHUGGA-CHUGGA..." With an answering "CHOO-CHOO!" the train should then follow you home. In time, with care, you can teach it tricks and manners. Will it be happy? "You'll know." Rocco uses graphite and digitally added color to create naturalistic settings and relatively accurate portraits of a variety of trains. Three happy youngsters are shown riding the engines of their pet trains on the front of the jacket/cover. On the back are portraits of nine different train pets, all named. Anthropomorphic touches add the illusion of headlight eyes and hardware for smiling mouths. The story is fun all the way through. Do not miss the warning note at the end. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—From Thomas the Tank Engine to The Little Engine That Could, kids love personified trains, so it's not such a huge chug forward to imagine one as a pet. But how do you select, train, and care for your pet engine? Written as a guidebook for new owners, this amusing title incorporates language usually associated with pet ownership and child rearing. "It's only natural that you'll want to take home all the trains, but don't just grab the first one you see. Take your time and choose one that's right for you." Juxtaposing sensible tips with the absurdity of a huge pet locomotive creates a text that is at once believable and preposterous. "A warm bath can help calm a nervous train…and few trains can resist a good read-aloud." But what really makes this concept roar down the track are the entrancing digitally colored illustrations that perfectly capture the expressiveness and playfulness of the pet trains. Whether illustrating the new pet going for a "walk," performing a trick, or enjoying a playdate with other pet vehicles, the artist has so cleverly incorporated facial features onto the various engines that their distinct personalities shine through, as does the obvious affection children feel for their new pets. Additionally, the large-scale, saturated colors, and comic details of these pictures give young readers a boxcar full to look at and appreciate. From the appealing cover to the final moonlit scene of a boy and his pet steam engine happily chugging down the track, this book is sure to be popular with train and pet lovers alike.—Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Train and pet enthusiasts alike will delight in this rollicking story about selecting, naming, soothing and caring for a full-sized locomotive. The information in this "guidebook" is conveyed by a young expert clad in safari shorts, boots and pith helmet, with binoculars strung around his neck; an enormous freight train sits patiently on the other end of his leash. Friends demonstrate what's involved in pet ownership: A blonde girl with pink fairy wings paints hearts and stars on her passenger train, Sparkles, while an African-American boy observes the dirt a train can track into the house. The recommended method to attract a pet train plays perfectly to kid logic: The tracker awakens early, hiding behind a desert cactus while the engines play. He arouses his subject's interest with smoke signals, then proceeds to offer lumps of coal, compliments and encouraging "chugga-chuggas." Rocco's graphite, digitally colored compositions are a successful blend of striking, painterly spreads (the hero as engineer, speeding through the moonlit night) and humorous cameos. Eaton's deadpan text allows maximum artistic freedom: "Start with a simple trick…" shows the engine rolling over; "then move on to something a bit harder" depicts Fido jumping through a flaming ring. With believable expressiveness in the characterizations of the trains and a scale perfect for groups, this affectionate sendup communicates all the exasperation, responsibility and rewards of having a pet. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763663070
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 9/24/2013
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 51,572
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.04 (w) x 12.10 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author

Jason Carter Eaton

Jason Carter Eaton is the author of the picture book The Day My Runny Nose Ran Away and the YA novel The Facttracker. He has written for such diverse venues as McSweeney’s, Cartoon Network, MGM, and BBC Radio and has done extensive work at 20th Century Fox animation, Blue Sky Studios, where he received story credit for Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. Jason Carter Eaton lives in Westchester, New York, with his wife, two kids, dog, cat, and pet steam engine.

John Rocco is the illustrator of The Flint Heart, a 2011 abridgment crafted by Katherine and John Paterson from the 1910 Eden Phillpotts fantasy. John Rocco’s picture book Blackout earned him a 2012 Caldecott Honor. His other picture books include Fu Finds the Way, Wolf! Wolf!, and Moonpowder. He is the jacket artist for Rick Riordan’s best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and collaborated with Whoopi Goldberg on the picture book Alice. He was previously creative director at Walt Disney Imagineering and served as preproduction director at Dreamworks for the film Shrek. John Rocco lives in Brooklyn.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2013

    Fun, whimsical, visually stunning, and linguistically appealing!

    Fun, whimsical, visually stunning, and linguistically appealing! This book will delight your children and adult read-aloud readers alike.
    This book makes the perfect holiday gift, birthday gift  or just because gift.  We're ready to go out and adopt our own train:
    a perfect pet to add to our busy family and one that does not make a mess!
    And now, How to Train a Train is the perfect accompanying guide book to inspire my family and our new pet with ideas of how to enjoy one another!
    Bravo, Jason Carter Eaton and John Rocco on your wonderful new addition to our family library. We will enjoy your book for years to come. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 14, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    With rhythmic absurdity, Jason Carter Eaton teaches your kid the

    With rhythmic absurdity, Jason Carter Eaton teaches your kid the necessities and responsibilities of choosing the perfect pet train. Yes, you read that correctly. Some kids want dogs, others prefer cats, but this is for the child akin to the locomotive. 

    First, let's take a look at those illustrations. Don't they make you happy by just looking at them? It makes me want to go out and lasso a wild train myself! The colors are extravagant and the illustrator does a fabulous job creating movement in each. I love the realistic vintage-like feel of the artwork and the smoothness of the images. I give the illustrator 5 stars.

    Jason Carter Eaton narrates this funny little How-To book with silliness that people of all ages can enjoy. After learning how to catch a train, the reader will learn how to train and care for it. He even tells you how to reward it! The reader is given several tips throughout the book that they probably didn't even know where incumbent in at-home "Train care":

    Try saying, “My, what a handsome train you are.” Next, make the call of the wild train: “CHUGGA-CHUGGA, CHUGGA-CHUGGA!”

    Now you're probably asking, "if this book was so great, then why did you only rate it 4 stars?" Here's why: although the concept is adorably entertaining, there's a slight risk this book may encourage kids to attempt catching a train if they find themselves in a position to do so. This might sound ridiculous, but freak accidents happen, and I think it's important to inform your child that this is all part of using their imagination and not something they should try when enjoying a family picnic. Luckily, the author provides a disclaimer explaining this, but it may do you well to communicate the seriousness of the matter:

    While the author believes that it would indeed be wonderful to track, own, and train one’s very own train, he does not suggest that you make a practice of standing in the middle of train tracks. Just as he does not suggest swimming in a train’s bathtub without adult supervision, or traveling to the desert without an adequate water supply and SPF 1000 sunblock, or building a fire by yourself, or operating a train without the proper paperwork, or disobeying traffic laws, or walking across a train trestle several thousand feet up from the ground. All of these things are extremely dangerous and should be performed only by fully trained illustrated characters.

    This is a delightful book filled with all sorts of artistry and humor. I would recommend this book to add to your shelf. Your children will enjoy the illustrations and rhythm. I can't say there is a true educational value here, but you are sure to be entertained nonetheless!See full review @ The Indigo Quill . blogspot . com

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2014

    Awesome book. My three year old grandson loves it. He especially

    Awesome book. My three year old grandson loves it. He especially likes going to the back jacket and hearing the names of the different trains.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    Best Fictional Train Book!

    Imaginative, creative & funny!! Reads well & keeps the interest of not only my 4 year old, but myself as well!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2014

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