a rush of air

a car is there

hop, hop, hop

on the subway!

Come along for the ride as a little girl and her mother hop on the subway.  From spinning turnstiles and musicians performing on the platforms to people hopping off and on and lights flashing past in the tunnels, the sights and sounds of the subway have an energy all their own.  Anastasia Suen's sprightly ...

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a rush of air

a car is there

hop, hop, hop

on the subway!

Come along for the ride as a little girl and her mother hop on the subway.  From spinning turnstiles and musicians performing on the platforms to people hopping off and on and lights flashing past in the tunnels, the sights and sounds of the subway have an energy all their own.  Anastasia Suen's sprightly text and Karen Katz's brightly colored patterns and lively perspectives combine for a pitch perfect celebration of an underground train ride, where the hustle and bustle is only part of the fun.

A young girl and her mother enjoy a ride uptown on a city subway.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"We go down/ to go uptown/ down, down, down/ in the subway"-opens the text as a mother and young daughter embark on an exuberant underground excursion. In 14 simple quatrains, Suen (Window Music) turns city life into one big happy hub-bub; every third line consists of a key monosyllabic word repeated three times and printed in contrasting colored type, driving home the percussive sensations of navigating underground travel. The illustrations channel the zest of a kindergarten-age art enthusiast. Katz (Counting Kisses) creates a merry metropolis that is both multicolored and multicultural; all the inhabitants sport brightly patterned clothing and even brighter smiles. Capitalizing on the book's horizontal format, the full-bleed spreads portray the subway experience from a variety of perspectives. Katz catches buskers boogying and passengers coming and going; she follows the trains as they snake through the tunnels; etc. In one cheeky vignette, she shows all the riders from the neck down-a sort of toddler's-eye view that should strike a chord with the audience. The characters' glee is so infectious that even die-hard junior suburbanites will find themselves aspiring to the straphanger's life. Ages 3-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This book is a friendly approach to riding the subway for preschoolers, or anyone else curious about what it might be like. Though somewhat glorified (New York City subways aren't that pretty!) Suen presents a gentle atmosphere with rhythmic text enhanced by Katz's happily colored illustrations of diverse, eclectic, multicultural subway riders. A young girl and her mother are going down to go uptown! Follow this busy adventure through the subway turnstiles, up the stairs, into the car, and along the tracks until the ride ends at their stop. There is even a little brown dog going somewhere. Where could everyone be going? Where have they been? Simple text will encourage hesitant readers to complete each phrase and move on to the next. Eager listeners and viewers will enjoy the rhythm of the text and energy of the illustrations. 2004, Viking Press, Ages 4 to 8.
—Elizabeth Young
Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-In brief, rhyming verses, an African-American child describes her ride on the subway, telling how she and her mother enter through a turnstile, board the train, transfer, and arrive at their final destination. She details the speed of the train, the music heard at a station, the darkness of the tunnels, and the motion of the car. The rhythmic language captures the feel of her journey and a repeated refrain invites readers to participate in the telling of the story. The bright, bold artwork depicts each scene in a realistic manner from the child's point of view. The colorful illustrations show a diverse group of travelers, all with happy expressions on their faces. For youngsters who have never been on a subway, this title provides a wonderful introduction. For veteran riders, it reinforces the experience in a positive manner.-Margaret R. Tassia, Millersville University, PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Thumping verses convey the rush and bustle of a crowded subway trip. A tiny girl and her mother ride uptown on the subway, listen to a busker's saxophone playing, and transfer trains to complete their ride. The multicultural and smiling crowd is loudly colorful in bright, textured patterned outfits that accentuate the teeming multitudes. The passengers show constant delight, from their gleeful dances to the music, to their tight squeeze into a car: "open the door / to let in more / more, more, more / on the subway." Movement and energy fill the bright and crowded pages since this is the subway as seen through the eyes of one thrilled at the adventure: busy, joyful, and exciting. (Picture book. 2-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670036226
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/8/2004
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 430,100
  • Age range: 5 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 10.92 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Anastasia Suen, author of more than 60 books for children and Picture Writing (Writer's Digest Books, 2003), co-taught children’s literature at University of North Texas. She currently teaches the Story Structure Workshop at Southern Methodist University and children's writing workshops online. Suen talks about books and writes with children and adults at schools, libraries, bookstores, book festivals and conferences. A credentialed elementary school teacher, she is on the Reading Advisory Board for the Rosen Publishing Group and has worked as a poetry consultant for Sadlier-Oxford. A former director of Seminars in Children's Literature and advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Suen is a co-founder of the Writers Roundtable Conference. She is on the Children's Book Council Children's Book Authors and Illustrators List and the "Great Children's Poets" List.


From painting and sculpture to quiltmaking and costume design, Karen Katz has been making art in one form or another all her life. But it was not until she and her husband adopted a baby from Guatemala that she considered a career in children's books. Published in 1997, her debut picture book, Over the Moon, told the story of one adoptive family's happy beginnings in a country far away. Since then, Katz has gone on to create many award-winning picture, board, and novelty books that capture the joys of childhood in simple storylines, vibrant colors, and winsome illustrations. Some include count-down elements (Counting Kisses, Ten Tiny Tickles) or interactive features (Where Is Baby's Belly Button?, Peek-A-Baby); still others introduce holiday traditions (My First Kwanzaa, My First Chinese New Year) or reinforce good habits, manners, or behavior (Excuse Me!, No Biting!, I Can Share).

Perhaps the secret to Katz's success (besides the undeniable appeal of her signature round-headed babies!) can be summed up in this quote taken directly from the author/artist's website: "When an idea for a story pops into my head, I ask these questions: Will a child want to read this book? Will parents want to read this book with their children? Will this book make a child laugh? Will this book make a parent and child feel something? Is there something visual here that will hold a child's interest? Will a child see something in a different way after reading this book? If the answer to any of those questions is 'yes,' then I know I'm on the right track."

Good To Know

Katz explains the difference between designing picture books and board books in this way:
Picture books usually have more words in them but they tell more of a narrative story. Board books are usually simpler. They are generally 6 spreads and are about one concept. When I create a board book, I try to make something that is very interactive for the baby, with flaps and pull tabs and lots of surprises. Board books are a perfect size for a baby's hand to hold and touch. Babies can have an experience all by them selves with a good board book and can also have a good lap-time experience with a mommy or daddy or caregiver. Picture books take a little more care since the pages can rip. With a board book, you can throw it in a stroller, chew on the corners and even wipe off mashed peas.

Katz has received numerous awards for her work, including:

  • Smithsonian, People, and Parent Guide magazines Best Books designation, all 1997, all for Over the Moon
  • Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award nomination, Florida Reading Association Award nomination, and Child magazine Best Book designation, all 2000, all for The Colors of Us
  • National Parenting Publications Gold Award, and Child magazine Best Book designation, both 2001, and Bank Street School Books Committee Best Book designation, 2002, all for Counting Kisses
  • Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award, 2002, for Counting Kisses and Twelve Hats for Lena.
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      1. Education:
        Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia; Yale Graduate School of Art and Architecture
      2. Website:

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