Elem. – Trains (Series NF)

Murray, Julie. Trains. Abdo, 2022. $21.95 ea. $131.70 set of 6. 24 p. Grades K-3. 

Disney Monorail. 978-1-098-22671-8.
Eurostar. 978-1-098-22672-5.
London Underground. 978-1-098-22673-2.
New York City Subway. 978-1-098-22674-9.
San Francisco Cable Car. 978-1-098-22675-6.
Shinkansen Bullet Train. 978-1-098-22676-3.

Author Julie Murray explores the histories of some of the world’s most popular trains in this new series intended for emerging readers. Each volume contains a brief history of the train (or train system) as well as an overview of the current operations of the train today. This reviewer had the opportunity to view the London Underground volume of the series. This volume traced the history of the Underground (or “The Tube”) from its founding in 1863 to its present day services. Numerous historical photos and drawings as well as contemporary photos were present throughout the text. Back matter in each title includes a list of facts and glossary. 

THOUGHTS: This series is sure to be popular with young train enthusiasts who will enjoy learning about some of the unique and popular trains around the world. This series merits consideration for libraries serving younger readers looking to expand their transportation collection.

388.42 Transportation           Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg SD

Elem. – Flying Scotsman and the Best Birthday Ever

Morpurgo, Michael. Flying Scotsman and the Best Birthday Ever. Illustrated by Michael Foreman. Thames & Hudson, 2022. Unpaged. $17.95. 978-0-500-65294-7. Grades 2-5. 

A fictional girl shares memories of her father as driver of the Flying Scotsman, and her love of steam locomotives throughout her career and life. The Flying Scotsman, a passenger locomotive between London and Edinburgh, was built in 1923 and served proudly with crew for many years in the United Kingdom, later making visits to the United States, Canada, and Australia, giving it the honor of being the first steam locomotive to circumnavigate the globe. The girl in this story shares her pride in watching her father prepare the engine and driving the Flying Scotsman, waving and calling to his daughter. She wants to go with him, in fact, “to shovel the coal, to pull the whistle, to help him drive.” Her teacher tells her girls can’t, and her mother tells her not yet, but the little girl leaves a note and secretly follows her father to the train for her own secret ride. But the stowaway is found, and it is not until later that her father is granted tickets for his wife and daughter to ride in the luxury of First Class on Flying Scotsman. Her memories of that ride are vivid. Being dressed in their finest, having a magnificent breakfast and lunch in the dining car, seeing beautiful sights from the windows of their train car, and arriving in Edinburgh to cheers and a band, for the Flying Scotsman had set a world record for speed! The girl later has a career with the train, being honored to stand on the footplate, where her dad once had been. The book ends with facts about the steam locomotive and its travel years as well as its place now giving special passenger tours in the U.K. 

THOUGHTS: Share this with those with a love for trains and their history or anyone with wanderer’s lust for new sights. This book could easily spark a love for trains, history and travel.

Picture Book          Melissa Scott, Shenango Area SD

Elem. – Mr. Complain Takes the Train

Bradford, Wade & S. Britt. Mr. Complain Takes the Train. Clarion Books. 2021. 978-0-544-82981-7. $17.99. Grades K-3

Mr. Complain is ready to take the train to his vacation in Dullsville. Unfortunately, the train is late. And loud. The train shows people that are too happy, but also too sad. Mr. Complain’s luggage won’t fit, and his seat is too lumpy. When he receives a new seat, his seat companions are just not up to par. There is nothing perfect on this train… especially when the train spirals downhill, goes in the dark, and even loop-de-loops! Is there something on the train that Mr. Complain will like?

THOUGHTS: Sometimes we need to see the positive things that are in life! We all know a Mr. Complain – this book provides readers with a chance to see the bright side of life, even when things may be a little different or crazy!

Picture Book          Rachel Burkhouse, Otto-Eldred SD

Elementary NF – Super Cute!; Amazing Trains; Mighty Machines; Awesome Dogs

Borgert-Spaniol, Megan. Super Cute!. Bellwether, 2017. $17.95ea. 24p. Gr. K-3.
Baby Racoons. 979-7-8162617-545-7.
Baby Rhinos. 978-1-62617-546-4.
Baby Skunks. 978-1-62617-547-1.
Baby Zebras. 978-1-62617-548-8.
Who can resist baby animals? Not most elementary readers, that’s for sure, which no doubt influenced Bellwether’s expansion of of its Super Cute! series for younger readers. Each one of these engaging titles features basic information about the animal under discussion, including how the young are raised, what they eat, and how they protect themselves from predators. Numerous close-up photos show the baby animals eating, playing, sleeping and more! A glossary and link for online resources is also included. THOUGHTS: These titles are ideal for the lower elementary reader. The photo selection in each volume is excellent – the reader feels as if they are right there with the baby animals. Recommended for primary schools looking to add to their animal collection.
500s Animals           Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg School District


Leighton, Christina. Amazing Trains. Bellwether, 2017. $17.95ea. $107.70 set of 6. 24p. Gr. K-3.
City Trains. 978-1-62617-669-0.
Freight Trains. 978-1-62617-670-6.
High-Speed Trains. 978-1-62617-671-3.
Monorails. 978-1-62617-672-0.
Passenger Trains. 978-1-62617-673-7.
Subway Trains. 978-1-62617-674-4.
The Amazing Trains series aims to inform younger readers about various types of trains. Each volume examines a specific type of train, outlining the purpose of the train, how they are powered, the role of the driver of the train, and passenger accommodations (if it is a passenger-style train). Numerous photos show the various trains at work, traveling through they city streets or the countryside. A glossary and link for additional online resources is also included. THOUGHTS: This series is ideal for the primary school rail fan. Readers will enjoy the numerous photos present on each page illustrating the important role these trains play in everyday life. Recommended where trains are popular or for schools looking to expand their transportation collections.
600s Transportation       Elizabeth Henry, Lampeter-Strasburg School District


Mighty Machines in Action. Bellwether, 2017. $25.95 ea. 24pp. Gr. 1-3.

Bowman, Chris. Backhoes. 978-1-62617-600-3.

Bowman, Chris.  Bulldozers.978-1-62617-601-0.

Oachs, Emily Rose. Police Cars. 978-1-62617-607-2.

These three entries in the Mighty Machines in Action series are dynamic entries in easy non-fiction. Visually appealing, with bright, glossy pictures and large font text, these books introduce young readers to the structure of non-fiction books. Each volume has a table of contents, index and a glossary of words highlighted throughout the book, as well as boxed text and labeled diagrams. As in other series by this publisher, the “To Learn More” page refers readers to books and websites for more information. Websites are found through the (apparently) proprietary search engine Factsurfer.com. THOUGHTS:  These books are sure to be a hit with youngsters looking for books on vehicles.

Machines; Transportation     Nancy Nadig, Penn Manor School District


Awesome Dogs.  Bellwether, 2017. $25.95 ea. 24pp. Gr. K-2.

Leaf, Christina. Boston Terriers. 978-1-62617-557-0.

Scheutz, Kari.  Pugs. 978-1-62617-558-7.

Sommer, Nathan. Cocker Spaniels. 978-1-62617-611-9.

These books, part of the Awesome Dogs series, are aimed at early readers. Sparse informative text is superimposed on vibrantly colored pages. Bolded words correspond to the glossary. Cute pup pictures dominate, and are sure hold a child’s attention. With features such as table of contents, glossary and index, as well as at least one diagram with labels, and a map in each book, these volumes would be excellent for teaching parts of a book, or text features. A page at the back of the book refers students to book and websites for further information. However, as with other books from this publisher, they recommend Factsurfer.com search engine, which provides very select results (all age appropriate) and does not offer any information as to who operates the search engine. THOUGHTS: A nice introduction to research for the earliest students.

Dogs     Nancy Nadig, Penn Manor School District