Two Little Trains

two little trains

The classic picture book from Margaret Wise Brown about two trains and their cross-country journey from east to west, with a bold new look from Geisel Award–winning artist Greg Pizzoli.

Two little trains went down the track,

Two little trains went West.



Two little trains to the West.

A streamlined train and a little old train journey through hills and over mountains, crossing rivers and plains, in this treasured story from Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight Moon. Reimagined with bold and vibrant art by Geisel Award–winning artist Greg Pizzoli, this updated edition is perfect for fans of things that go.   Makes for a great baby shower gift!---from the publisher

40 pages                        978-0062676511                      Ages 2-5

Keywords:  trains, classic, transportation, things that go, 2 year old, 3 year old, 4 year old, 5 year old


“And the train conductor says,

‘Take a break Driver 8, Driver 8, take a break,

We’ve been on this shift too long”

-- REM (1984)

“One little train was a streamlined train,

PUFF PUFF PUFF to the West.

One little train was a little old train,

CHUG CHUG CHUG going West.


LOOK DOWN that long steel track,

that long steel track to the West.”

I don’t recall writing before about a new picture book with a story this old. Maybe I’ve discussed one or two old children’s poems that were transformed into picture books, but this is something out of the ordinary.

The mystique of trains still captivates preschoolers, just as it enchanted me. In fact, my oldest personal possessions are the locomotive and a few cars from the 1950s era Lionel set that merrily chugged around our annual Christmas trees until the transformer finally gave out.

Trains are forever entwined with white settlement of the North American continent. Completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 connected eastern America with the West.

It’s easy to love the joyful, rhythmic verses by Margaret Wise Brown (of GOODNIGHT MOON fame). It’s a well-told tale that has endured for multiple generations, over 70+ years. The text makes for a first-rate read-aloud,

“The wind it blew,

and the dust it flew

around the two little trains going West.

But the dust storm drew

not a toot or a whoo

or a whistle

from the trains going West.”

The first iteration of Brown’s TWO LITTLE TRAINS, published in 1949, was illustrated by Jean Charlot. Half a century later, the lyrics were re-illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. Now, 71 years after the original publication, TWO LITTLE TRAINS has been reimagined, yet again, by Greg Pizzoli. His custom-made rubber stamps give the story, and the two little trains, a beautiful, classic vibe.

Aside from the onomatopoeic flourishes, this is a tale told in the third person. It’s a story of two friends, who happen to have some physical differences, who are on a cross-country adventure together. Through tunnels, across rivers, and over mountains they travel. There are tornadoes and horses running wild. There are clock towers and factories and cacti.

Get on board! Don’t get left at the station! You’ve gotta check out these TWO LITTLE TRAINS.

Recommended by:  Richie Partington, MLIS, California USA

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