Sunday, September 5, 2010

SLIS 5420 - Module 2 - Freight Train

Module 2 - Freight Train by Donald Crews

Crews, Donald. Freight Train. Scholastic Inc, 1989. ISBN: 978-0590426947

Freight Train is a very simple and very satisfying story describing a rainbow-colored train and its journey through the landscape. The art is as important as the text in this book. The book received a 1979 Caldecott Honor Award.

What I think about Freight Train
I wanted to write about Freight Train because it's one of my son's favorite books. The simplicity of the story and the illustrations are a perfect match. The opening merely shows an empty train track against a bare white background. The words are so simple:

"A train runs across this track."
The ending is also simple and satisfying. After the train has sped up and passed through the landscape it is now only showing as a wisp of smoke and is:

"Going, going...gone."
I feel that the book's understated wording and cleanly illustrated pictures are what make it feel so good to read and look at. The book is a breath of fresh air when the world is a cluttered, busy place. There is order and simplicity in Crew's illustrated world and that's something that I find very satisfying.

Outside Reviews
"Crews did a fine job with Freight Train's illustrations which aptly convey the excitement of a train rushing by in a blur of color."

DeVinney, G., & Gerhardt, L. (1978). Freight Train/Rain (Book Review). School Library Journal, 25(2), 131. Retrieved from Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts with Full Text database.

Using this book in the library
I have read this story not only for my own children, but also for children who come to our library story time. I am amazed at how engaged children are with this book. They enjoy shouting out the colors as I am reading and pointing to the different trains in the beginning. They enjoy it as the train speeds up and starts to travel. The book can be used in a few different kinds of story time activities. It can be used in a theme about vehicles. It can also be used to describe and help children recognize colors. It is a book primarily for smaller children and they do enjoy it very much and I feel all kids should get a chance to have this book read to them.

For fun
Learn more about Donald Crews. Donald Crews is part of a very diverse family. I enjoyed learning about him and his family.

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