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It is a quiet country road, slumbering in the softness of summer moonlight. The peacefulness of the blue night is soon broken by the sputtering of a 1920s-vintage car as it rolls to a stop at a railroad crossing. And then, everything happens at once. The crickets' singing and the owl's hooting are abruptly overpowered by the clanging of the crossing bell, and a far-off whistle picks up volume as a train roars closer. The speeding wheels churn up leaves, sparks fly and smoke billows into the sky. A man and boy get out of the auto to enjoy the spectacle of the train cars hurtling by. The reader is first lulled by the tranquility, then jarred awake, then, just as suddenly, put back into Rand's dreamy country nightscape, as the old car bumps over the tracks and fades away. Rand's nostalgic paintings--rendered primarily in blues and yellows--feature trees dramatically silhouetted against inky skies and bursts of color for the crossing signal and railroad cars. Ages 4-7.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
PreSchool-Grade 2--Country Crossing re-creates the peaceful night sounds of the country as an old motor car "putt putts" its way down a dirt road and comes to a stop at a railroad crossing just as the bell begins to ring and the sound of an approaching train is heard in the distance. The car's passengers--an old man and a young boy--watch as the train noisily passes by. Serenity once again returns to the country as the train disappears and the motor car continues on its way. Aylesworth is able to make the sounds in his text come alive. Readers will actually hear the soft chirping of the crickets and feel the energy and excitement brought about by the loud "chooachooing" of the oncoming train. Rand has successfully interpreted the text with his beautiful illustrations. Done in sumi brush and chalk, these drawings work hand in hand with Aylesworth's writing. The soft yellow moon reflecting its color on the car and on a nearby puddle evoke a feeling of warmth while the bright red circles of the crossing light and hard yellow stream of the train's headlight reflect the urgency and importance of the train's job. Together, author and illustrator have made the simple act of a train traveling through the night seem almost poetic. --Rachel Fox, Port Washington Public Library, NY
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.