Down by the Station
Title: Down by the Station
Author: Will Hillenbrand
“Down by the station, early in the morning,” before any visitors arrive, who exactly is riding that zoo train? Hop aboard and find out! See the elephant calf waving good-bye to Mommy and Daddy. And there’s a pink flamingo chick, ready to ride. Who’s this sleepy black-and-white cub? Still wrapped in a blanket, the panda isn’t quite awake yet. The train chugs merrily along, picking up baby animal passengers. But beware! There’s danger in the pond beside the tracks. Will the seal pup and baby penguin escape from the circling crocodiles?
Will Hillenbrand, illustrator of Counting Crocodiles and The House That Drac Built, has always been curious about what goes on in a zoo before opening hours. Adapting a traditional children’s song, Hillenbrand depicts his charming vision, and presents a parallel journey of a school bus approaching the zoo while the train is making its rounds. Children, as diverse as the chicks and cubs and kits, bound out of the bus to seesaw with the elephant and play kickball with the seal. And the napping panda? He’s found his match in a blanket-toting boy. “Puff, puff, toot, toot, off we go!” Basic song notation is included in the back for budding musicians. (Ages 4 to 8) —Emilie Coulter