A sleek lime-and-orange train bisects spindly b&w landscapes, carrying a girl to her grandmother’s house, in a story that trades the ultra-tall format of this team’s recent Sky High for an exaggerated horizontal trim size. The girl’s head is just visible in one of the train’s windows. “When you move between two places, it’s called traveling,” she explains. She uses the journey to think. “One day,” she vows, “I will travel everywhere.... I will know the entire world.” Her family is evidently less enthusiastic: “My mother and my grandmother say that I am too small to know the entire world.” Albertine’s graceful lines are all of perfectly even weight; the white pages look as if a ball of string has been unspooled on them. The scenery echoes the girl’s sense of adventure, growing imperceptibly more surreal as the journey goes on; cityscapes give way to swamps full of alien plant life and fields of bland, elephantine creatures. Zullo captures the girl’s final resolve with sensitivity: “My mother and my grandmother have forgotten what I have always known: It is possible.” Ages 4–6. (May)
From the Publisher
"Children will relate to the narrator as she both yearns to understand the adult world and determines to pave her own path. Truly elegant."-School Library Journal"
Truly elegant."-School Library Journal"
The scenery echoes the girl's sense of adventure." - Publishers Weekly"
Readers will thrill to the sense of discovery and exploration the girl experiences." - Kirkus Reviews"
Delicate, complex, and utterly enthralling."Booklist"
Could help turn a train journey into a fantasy ride."- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
We meet our thoughtful young narrator as a tiny drawn figure walking with her mother along a line that becomes the track of the train that runs across the double pages through the book. She boards the sleek yellow train with blue windows and red doors alone; the train runs through urban scenes drawn in black lines on white, from her home in the city to her grandmother's in the country. As she rides through and past the city (and both realistic and imagined places) to arrive and be greeted by her grandmother; she reveals her thoughts and ambitions. One day she hopes to travel everywhere and "know the entire world." Despite the efforts of her mother and grandmother to discourage her, she remains true to her dream. Tiny figures and vehicles inhabit parts of the changing cityscape, going about their business and ignoring the single line of text that runs across the bottom of the pages, paralleling the train that is the only colored object. Although the images are clearly recognizable, a sense of the surreal adds intrigue to the gradually changing environment that includes fantastic architecture and desolate fields. We are left to ponder the girl's future. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Line 135 relates the physical and emotional journey of a child as she travels via elevated train from her home in the city to her grandmother's country home. "There are two places I belong in the world" she tells readers as she boards the Day-Glo green and orange train, which provides the only color among the delicately outlined black-and-white scenery. The exquisite line work and sense of whimsy are reminiscent of Edward Gorey's style minus the macabre. The narrator's tiny face is visible in the window as the train travels through landscapes both mundane and surreal. As the youngster progresses, she relates her intentions to know the world despite being told that she's too young and naive to desire such a thing. Children will relate to the narrator as she both yearns to understand the adult world and determines to pave her own path. The first page is blank except for a pair of small figures holding hands and marching along the horizon line; the youngster leads the way, eagerly gesturing forward toward the rest of the story. On the final spread, the same spare layout provides readers a place to reflect as the girl joyfully follows her grandmother and gestures backward to where she came from. Pair this book with Frank Viva's Along a Long Road (Little, Brown, 2011) for two truly elegant linear journeys, both of which provide a breath of fresh air to picture-book collections.—Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, White Bear Lake, MN
The witty minimalism of the black-and-white line artwork by Swiss illustrator Albertine in this extreme landscape-format children's book belies the psychological depth of the content. A child is traveling by train from her mother's home in the city to her grandmother's home, which is "practically on the other side of the world." The train, the only color element of the whole book, moves through a landscape that begins as a modern European cityscape (plenty of signs in French for language practice!) and increasingly becomes more surreal and Seuss-ian as the landscape becomes more rural. The story is a gently veiled moral tale of resolution and independence. In spite of the admonitions of her mother and grandmother, who tell her that it is impossible to know the whole world, the child asserts that she intends to travel everywhere, and thus she will be able to know the whole world. Her assertions of independence and determination gain momentum as the train continues. The fact that the train does arrive at its far-distant destination, reuniting the girl with her grandmother, suggests that the child is right and that adults are too rigid in their thinking. Readers will thrill to the sense of discovery and exploration the girl experiences: "It is possible." (Picture book. 2-4)