In a dream sequence, a boy and his canine companion board his toy train for a trip around the world. They interrupt their journey to get off the train and play, but when they return they discover that an uninvited elephant has come on board. The pair are indignant--until they learn of the elephant's plight: he has become an endangered species because of his tusks. In their travels, they in turn encounter a seal, a crane, a tiger, and a polar bear, each recounting the environmental hazards that threaten its survival. The animals are then welcomed aboard. In the final scene, when the boy's mother comes to wake him, she voices her suspicions about his nocturnal activity, for the house is now full of exotic animals. The book's message is loud and clear. While readers will be in complete sympathy with the philosophy espoused here, they may resent the book's heavy-handedness. The pen-and-ink/pastel sketches of the boy and the animals have an endearing innocence, and there is a Turner-like quality in the full-page illustrations that depict an old-fashioned, coal-powered locomotive bursting with power and energy as it clatters along. Good intentions, laudable as they may be, do not make a successful picture book. --Phyllis G. Sidorsky, National Cathedral School, Washington, DC
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.