There could to be a revival of the magic of trains for children on its way. After all, trains are massively energetic and they take you to new places so this must appeal to the heart of any child. Not only that, with the advent of the new high-speed trains, train travel is increasingly popular. So Wave the Flag and Blow the Whistle may be just what parents and kids ordered. Admittedly this book has a slightly old-fashioned feel, with its steam train and bespectacled old grandpa, but there are still plenty of magical day trips to be taken on a real live steam train, so the story is sure to inspire nostalgic adults to hurry the kids on board.
With a bouncy rhyming text, the story of Tom and Maisie’s train ride and picnic, has a calm appeal which comes as a pleasant antidote to the noisy chaos of computer games and cartoons. The leitmotif of favourite toys being forever forgotten and returned gives gentle tension and cohesion to the story as it runs under the main theme of the train ride. Ronda Armitage really knows her audience from Grannies to little ones.
The illustrator Andrew Gordon is someone to watch. A graduate of the excellent MA illustration course in Cambridge, his work has style, originality and flair. His rich colour palette and lively painterly brush strokes enhance this story and the bold compositions lead the eye to fresh delights. This book, and the train inside it, is right on time.