Window Music

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Banana Trees 17%22'38%22.JPG
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Window Music

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Author Anastasia Suen, illustrator Wade Zahares

What could be more fun than a train ride--the excitement of going places, the rhythmic sounds of the train clattering down the tracks, and the vivid window music of passing scenery. Suen's engaging text and Zahares' full-color illustrations capture the spirit of a train ride--from sky-high bridges to deep valleys to rolling vineyards to the lights of a distant city.

Product Details

Age Range: 3 - 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool - 3
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Viking Juvenile (September 1, 1998)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0670872873
ISBN-13: 978-0670872879
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 10.4 x 0.5 inches
Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces

Average Customer Review:
4.4 out of 5 stars


Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

"Window music" is 1880s railroad slang for passing scenery, and an impressive range of views is what this visual tour delivers. As a girl travels from her grandparents' house back to her home, Suen's (Man on the Moon) simple rhyming coupletsA"train on the track/ clickety clack"; "in a row/ oranges grow"Aevoke the rhythm of travel, and offer glancing descriptions of a varied terrain that includes banana trees, an ocean beach and city skyscrapers. In his first picture book, Zahares uses thickly applied paint and strong, geometric forms to create scenery that looks almost sculpted. A wave resembles a curl of plaster; a grape arbor is a tangle of thick wiry tendrils and bulging fruit; the train winds through the very peaks of conical snow-dripped mountains. The trip begins and ends in a docile, realistic station, but in between, the journey takes some surreal turns. This magical excursion is music with several movements, returning readers to a familiar theme in the final stanzas. Ages 3-8.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

School Library Journal

PreSchool-As a young girl sleeps, a train passes by outside her bedroom window, presaging the day she leaves her grandparents' house to journey home by rail. After waving farewell at the station, the youngster and her mother travel from countryside to city, passing through meadows, orange and banana groves, ice-capped mountains, and seascapes of breaking waves. The scenery is, in fact, the "window music" that entertains the child until the city's skyline looms and Dad awaits at destination's end. This straightforward excursion is conveyed through rhyming text of five-to-six words on each two-page spread. The brevity perfectly captures the staccato rhythm of a rail journey. While simple and direct, there are moments of compelling imagery, "street after street/under our feet," as well as predictable onomatopoeia, "wooo! wooo!/passing through." Zahares's bright and thickly painted palette is wonderfully light-infused. The sinuously curving lines reinforce the loopy track and the panorama, viewed from both inside and outside the chunky train, is ever-changing. The illustrations are idealized and dreamlike, a combination of childlike simplicity and the occasional surreal image. This quick and jolly read-aloud is right on track.
Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Kirkus Reviews

Trains make a music all their own with the wheels drumming time as the scenery flies by - ``trains on the track/clickety clack.'' In simple rhyme, Suen (Baby Born, p. 1196, etc.) conveys the wonder of a girl's train ride home from her grandparents' home, and it's no gray commute. The train goes through orange groves, past banana trees, beaches, and vineyards; the engine strains to climb tall snowy peaks, and races down valleys on its way to the city. Finally, ``into the station, our destination'' shows a father greeting his wife and daughter, who has narrated. In Zahares's first picture book, pastel drawings curve and flow with the train over bulbous hills and chunky tracks; a scene of a sleeping child on the title page implies a dream journey, so the stylized illustrations accentuate objects in adventurous ways, e.g., grapevines that resemble barbed wire, and waves as flat and white as spilled milk. A glowing trip. (Picture book. 3-8) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.


...Wade Zahares has used a rich, earthy palette with brilliant white accents. His drawings are full of life and will have strong appeal for children. -- The New York Times Book Review, Robin Tzannes