"Clear bright illustrations show all the cars of a train bringing the reader the excitement of movement through day and night, country and city."--Booklist.
Donald Crews grew up in Newark, New Jersey, and says that all through his childhood the members of his family were always doing something with their hands. He was always drawing pictures. Now, in the old farmhouse where he lives with his wife, the noted author and illustrator Ann Jonas, Donald Crews is still drawing pictures.
After graduating from New York City's Cooper Union, Mr. Crews spent three years working as a designer. He was assistant art director of Dance magazine, on the staff of a small design studio, and did freelance work as a book-jacket designer. But in 1962 he was inducted into the Army, and for a time his artistic pursuits were set aside. As the end of his eighteen-month military stint in Germany approached, he assigned himself to the task of writing and illustrating a children's book to add to his portfolio. The result was the brilliant concept book We Read: A to Z (Harper & Row, 1967), which, nearly twenty years later, was reissued by Greenwillow Books. Ten Black Dots, a counting book, came next, and then several books for which he did illustrations only. But the turning point came in 1978, when Greenwillow published Freight Train, a picture book inspired by Mr. Crews's childhood train trips from Newark to visit his grandmother in Florida. It was named a Caldecott Honor Book. Since then, Mr. Crews has created several other highly acclaimed picture books (including Truck, a 1981 Calclecott Honor Book), all painted in the flat, clean colors and bright, unambiguous shapes that are the hallmarks of his striking graphics.
When Donald Crews is asked why he focuses on picture books, he frequently answers, "Why not?" All the tools necessary for the creation of any piece of art are also elements in a successful picture book. Mr. Crews chooses a subject, explores ways to develop the subject visually, writes a story, then produces his finished illustrations. And the final audience, the children, tell him that they like what he does. Why not, indeed!
The illustrations are simple but enticing and the board book is very sturdy (but unfortunately not drool-proof, I am ordering another copy today because the first has become a casualty of the drooling caused by my son's teething.) Like many board books, this is just the right size for little hands to manipulate readily. I plan to put up a year one list and you can bet this book will easily be at the top.