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I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track
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I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track

3.9 358
by Joshua Prince, Macky Pamintuan (Illustrator)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Can a brawny railroad switchman named Jack do his job in time to save an oblivious ant that's traveling "eastbound... on a westbound track" from getting smacked by a freight train? Even very young readers will initially wonder why conscientious Jack doesn't simply pick up the ant and move him to safety, but Prince's debut book offers enough diversions that most youngsters should be willing to suspend disbelief and embrace the tall-tale spirit of the story. The comic drama escalates as Jack discovers, "The switch was stuck!/ Oh, ruin to wrack!/ Those cold steel wheels/ would soon attack/ that wrong-way ant on the way-wrong track/ just out a-searching for a snack!" But the ant's stomach turns out to be its salvation: spotting Jack's sandwich, it leaps from the track just in time to avoid the train and enjoy a genial picnic with Jack. Pamintuan's slick pictures emit an almost palpable muscularity and tongue-in-cheek sense of sweeping horizon; the illustrator seems to be simultaneously channeling a bit of the spirit of Grant Wood and A Bug's Life. Prince sets himself quite a challenge by making the "ack" sound predominate in the rhymes, but the sound fits both the premise and heart of the story. The percussive, theatrical text and larger-than-life pictures result in a made-to-order read-aloud. Ages 2-5. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Joshua Prince's first book is the tongue-in-cheek account of switchman Jack's valiant efforts to save the life of an ant in search of a snack strolling the wrong way on a railroad track. When a train comes barreling down that same track, Jack tosses his own snack and goes into action. Yet with all his strength he cannot pull the switch to change the train to the other track. Oh, horrors! Will the ant get whacked? Little ones should giggle with glee at Jack's titanic attempts to solve a simple problem. Luckily the ant is every bit as single-minded as his would-be savior. Prince's rollicking rhyme clickety-clacks right along, while Macky Pamintuan's artwork—with the slick, air-brushed look of a computer game—succeeds in setting a brawny Jack and huge engine in counterpoint to the miniscule ant. It's a bravura performance for a first-time out advertising writer—and great fun to boot. 2006, Sterling, Ages 2 to 6.
—Kathleen Karr
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-When Switchman Jack sees a black ant strolling down the railroad track in search of a snack, he tries to reroute a 10-ton freight train. However, the switch is stuck, and, just when readers start to worry that there will be an ant-astrophe, the tale takes a turn: "that ant.../made a beeline for my brown lunch sack/as the train whooshed by, screaming.../CLICKETY-CLACK!" The story builds effectively to a screeching crescendo, but some of the vocabulary, such as "ruin to wrack," might stump children. The big, bold color caricatures have a timeless feel, in keeping with the text. Pamintuan uses changing perspectives to draw readers into the plight of the ant as it is confronted by the enormous smoking train. When the ambling insect spies Jack's sandwich on the ground, it gets a determined look in its eye. The folksy rhyme would be most effective as a read-aloud; in the hands of a talented storyteller, the conflict could take on enormous proportions.-Susan E. Murray, Glendale Public Library, AZ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
When an ant walking east, "tickety-tack," meets a train heading west, clickety-clack," switchman Jack tries to head off the impending smack. Pamintuan illustrates Prince's consonantal verse with sunny, smoothly finished ground-level scenes featuring a Disneyesque ant with white gloves and large human eyes, strolling along oblivious both to the huge locomotive roaring up and portly, blue-collar Jack's struggles to switch the track. But then, at the last microsecond, the ant spots Jack's nearby sack of snacks and hops to safety. Of like-sounding outings there is no lack (see, for instance, Rob and Amy Spence's Clickety Clack, illustrated by Margaret Spengler, 1999), but there's enough melodrama here to keep readers coming back. (Picture book. 6-8)

Product Details

Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.50(d)
AD870L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 5 Years


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I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 358 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is just so much fun and GREAT to read aloud where you can really add to the building excitement with your tone of voice. The rhymes are right-on and even my 2 year old is on the edge of his seat when we read it. The first time I read it, my two year old was very concerned and a little bothered because the writing is very 'dangerous'--the author does a good job of creating anxiety. But now that my little one knows the ant gets saved every time, he squeals with glee as the tension in the book builds, and always has a big smile for the ant when he jumps to safety. And I love Jack in the book, who comes off as a gentle giant who ends the book with a picnic with the ant, his new friend. Great book!
ladycake More than 1 year ago
I liked the song and music on the front page of the book. My granddaughter wanted Nook to read this story to her several times. Easy to listen to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We received this book as a gift for our 2 and 5 year old boys, both train lovers. Our oldest son shares the same name with the switch man - Jack. This is a great read aloud, suspension filled and truly happy ending picture book perfect for 2 to 7 year olds. The illustrations are fantastic. I highly recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite nook color books. It is read really well, it's sweet, and touching.
WilsonsGaga More than 1 year ago
My 3-year old Grandson loves this book! He loves making the Ant bigger with his little fingers. Def a great purchase!
Orli Rein More than 1 year ago
love it!!!!!!
Tanya Palmer More than 1 year ago
i read this 2 my little sister evryday and she luvs it!
Sandra Baltazar More than 1 year ago
Both my children loved it. They want to keep reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
justduckyVT More than 1 year ago
My grandson loves this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My boys are 5 and 7, but they both love this book! My youngest one is a train and a bug addict, so we got this book last year. However, the older boy loves it too! It's just so cool the way that the ant makes it! The way that we read it is awesome too with a special tone and excitement! They would love to hear it over and over!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this last year on my NOOK for my (then) 3 year old son and he loved it! The animation, activities, and story are really fun! We read it over and over again. He's 4 now and it's still his favorite. I highly recommend it!
Kathleen Sparrow More than 1 year ago
Get it its worth the money!
TEST NOOKUSER More than 1 year ago
Sprouting_Soles_Creator More than 1 year ago
Super cute rhyming story & the ant is adorable! This is a "Read to me" book, which is why my 4 year old loves it but he also likes the story too! His daddy is a switchman.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fun book with great rhymes!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mlv333 More than 1 year ago
My train loving 2.5 year old son really enjoys this book. He out of the blue started being scarred of ants, so I added this to his library to help alleviate some fear which it did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Our 4 year old grandson loved the book and enjoys turning the pages on my Nook tablet. The story line is appealing to his age group.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
B&N does not indicate that this is not compatible wuth Samsung devices even with tbe Nook app !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One word awsome
Anonymous More than 1 year ago