Two Little Trains
by Brown, Margaret Wise; Pizzoli, Greg (ILT)

Two little trains, one streamlined, the other old-fashioned, puff, puff, puff, and chug, chug, chug, on their way West.

Pizzoli gives new life to Brown's classic story about two little trains heading West. Neon colors in bright orange, yellow, green, and blue pop, while occasional oversize text CHUGS and PUFFS down the long steel track. The streamlined engine always puffs and the steam engine always chugs as they follow the route. The simple, descriptive rhyming text says it succinctly: rain coming down on the two little trains makes them darker, wet, and shiny; snow covers them, and they get white and furry; and dust storms swirl around them. The trains go through a tunnel, cross a river, and climb great high mountains to their destination and the satisfying conclusion. This is a storytime winner, as the repetitive words give children a chance to chime in as the trains go "to the West." The vibrant illustrations were created digitally using custom-made rubber stamps. Blocky clear shapes, vivid colors, and simple designs make each page burst with an energy that will appeal to the smallest child. Preschool-Grade 2. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

First illustrated by Jean Charlot (1949) and then by Leo and Diane Dillon (2001) and now reimagined by Pizzoli, Brown's enduring classic follows two distinct trains on their journeys west. "Two little trains / went down the track, / two little trains went West. // PUFF PUFF PUFF / CHUG CHUG CHUG / two little trains to the West." Over hills and through rain, snow, night, and wind, the trains—one a steam engine, the other a streamliner—travel. Brown uses onomatopoeia to punctuate the narrative while Pizzoli exploits it to differentiate the two locomotives. He makes every spread a visual play on contrasts, from the different train stylizations and type styles (sans serif for the streamliner's "PUFF" and serif for the steam engine's "CHUG") to the complementary color palettes. The bold illustrations, created with rubber stamps and Photoshop, are done in a simplified style. Accessible, appealing, and understandable, both artwork and text are deceivingly simple, belying the sophisticated nature of each. Lively, rhythmic, and often rhyming text propels trains and readers down the tracks while evocative descriptions work within the confines of a few phrases per page. Skillfully designed and composed, Pizzoli's cheerful interpretation is thoroughly modern and charming. Swoonworthy for train lovers and preschoolers alike. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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