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The Train They Call the City of New Orleans
     

The Train They Call the City of New Orleans

5.0 2
by Steve Goodman, Michael McCurdy (Illustrator)
 

Good morning, America, how are you?
Said don't you know me? I'm your native son.
I'm the train they call the city of New Orleans.
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.

This classic tune captured the timeless soul of the American countryside and the golden era when people crossed it by train. Immortalized by the magical voice of

Overview

Good morning, America, how are you?
Said don't you know me? I'm your native son.
I'm the train they call the city of New Orleans.
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.

This classic tune captured the timeless soul of the American countryside and the golden era when people crossed it by train. Immortalized by the magical voice of Arlo Guthrie and sung around campfires by millions, "City of New Orleans" narrates the journey of the train with that name as it runs from snowy, industrial Chicago through small Midwestern towns to lush Louisiana.

Michael McCurdy's striking scratchboard-and-watercolor illustrations capture the change in landscapes seen out the windows and the lively events inside the cars, including a young adventurer exploring the entire train during his trip.

Illustrated by Michael McCurdy.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Parents of a certain age may have a hard time not singing this book's verses, written in 1970 and immortalized by Arlo Guthrie. But it's McCurdy's (Iron Horses) signature scratchboard-and-watercolor illustrations, set in what seems the late '50s, that will likely win over their progeny. First, the artist establishes context with a map of all the train stops from Chicago to New Orleans. Then, using abundant black with elaborate cross-hatching, he creates highly dramatic and compelling scenes within and without the train on its journey south. He grabs the audience's attention right from the start, showing a child who looks directly at readers as his family boards the train: "Riding on the City of New Orleans/ Illinois Central Monday morning rail/ Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders/ Three conductors, and twenty-five sacks of mail." Other intriguing scenes show children at work with their engineer and Pullman porter fathers. At times, however, the ode to train travel may be problematic for young ears (e.g., a group of card players "pass the paper bag that holds the bottle"), or be hard to understand ("But all the towns and people seem to fade into a bad dream/ And the steel rail still ain't heard the news/ .../ This train's got the disappearing railroad blues"). This nostalgic trip may have more mileage with adults, but youngsters will appreciate this romantic vision of the rails at their peak. Ages 5-up. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Goodman's Grammy-winning country-music song is resurrected with illustrations rendered in scratchboard and watercolor. McCurdy's framed and full-bleed spreads add to the folkloric appeal. The people who ride and work on the train and the gritty landscapes outside its windows are intricately etched, with earthy, overlaid color enlivening the black-and-white images. The lyrics ("Deal card games with the old men in the club car / Penny a point, ain't no keeping score. / Pass the paper bag that holds the bottle / Feel the wheels grumbling 'neath the floor") aren't really for youngsters-especially train-obsessed little ones-but music fans, railroad buffs, and folk-art aficionados will appreciate McCurdy's memorable treatment. An opening map marks the train's 17 stops between Chicago and New Orleans. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399238536
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
06/09/2003
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.82(w) x 11.42(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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The Train They Call the City of New Orleans (Book and CD) 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a terrific book for both chilren and adults! I have fond memories of this song and the illustrators work is fantastic. Highly recommend this book for anyone no matter the age!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bright with Michael McCurdy's striking woodblock illustrations, 'The Train They Call The City of New Orleans,' a classic tune captured by the voice of Arlo Guthrie, comes to lilting life beginning with a map of the train trip from Chicago to New Orleans. Evocative of a time when most travelers in the United States crossed the country by train, the lyrics of this familiar song are preceded by a map of the train's route. Beginning in wintry Illinois readers find the 'restless riders' in one of those fifteen cars, and watch the conductors prepare for their duties. Sacks of mail are loaded, and then the train pulls out of Kankakee through 'freight yards full of old black men and the graveyards of the rusted automobiles.' Later Pullman porters ready berths for the night as engineers guide the mammoth locomotive toward the Midwest and Louisiana. Youngsters will respond to the arresting illustrations and soon be humming along with the narrative.