Monday, June 28, 2010

Children's Book: The Caterpillar & the Express Train

The Caterpillar and the Express Train
Jeremy Foster-Fell & Matthew Gauvin
Web Profile, Inc. Ltd. (Wolcott, Vermont)
40 pages, $12.99
ISBN: 978-0984347704

A couple of months ago, I received a locally published children's book, The Caterpillar and the Express Train.
At first glance, story seems cute-if a bit long-for kids. From the site:
The Caterpillar and the Express Train is an illustrated story about a caterpillar (Sally) who unintentionally climbs into the hub of the Silver Bullet’s Express Train’s wheel.

The express steam engine is the fastest train on the East Coast of America and travels between Boston and Miami. The other trains nickname the Silver Bullet, “Bully”.

When the train’s loud whistle breaks, Sally saves the day by holding the broken wires together so that the train is saved from embarrassment, as he is now able to whistle in all the stations down to Miami. Sally changes his nick name from “Bully” to “Silly.

Sally and Silly become good friends and the train asks if the caterpillar will stay with him, we get the reply,

“Don’t be silly Silly,” Sally said. “I will stay with you for ever.”
But things don’t quite work out as planned.

The illustrations are innovative, however, they remind me a little of Thomas the Train on acid. I'm actually not sure what age group this book is aimed at, but my six year old seems to like it. Although, she probably won't be giving up Max & Ruby any time soon.

Despite all that was said above, I'm curious to see what else this duo has in store for the future.

Caterpillar and the Express Train site


  1. Hi Kris,
    Wow! I was very surprised to find this review of my book. I just wanted you to know how much the author and I appreciated your comments and review. It really is one of the first unbiased reviews we've received and as such it is so great to hear what you had to say.

    The Silver Bullet train character (silly/ bully) is something we worked long and hard to accomplish as our exact intent was to avoid anything that looked like Thomas the train. In striving to create such a unique character I discovered plenty of books with the faces plastered on the front of the trains boiler but none with the diverse level of character traits that our silly/ bully is able to achieve. Bully goes from a grumpy, old, all too important, express train in the beginning to a lovable and joyful silly by the end. All of this thanks to the massively important caterpillar, Sally who shows him that there is more to life than meeting arrival and departure times and getting the job done fast. This tiny little caterpillar is able to show this grand old train the value of friendship and teamwork. She shows that no matter how big or small we are all able to make a difference.

    Just last night Jeremy and I were at a school book reading event for this book which was attended by over 70 people. I showed the kids a power point presentation explaining the process for designing the two characters. Then I did a live drawing of Sally, while interacting with the kids to find out what sort of clothing and activities sally would need if she visited Vermont. By the end she was all bundled up and had skis going in every direction.

    I think our train would be more of a Thomas on steroids than on acid. However the author, upon reading your review, said "our train is certainly more of a 'trip' than plain old Thomas the chug chug." Regardless, we were both delighted to find your review and would love to have you review our second book which will be available soon. I think you’ll really enjoy seeing the progression from our first to our second book which we both feel is quit an improvement on many levels.

  2. Hi Matthew-

    Thanks for the comment. I try my best to be as unbiased as possible when reviewing/writing about books.

    I'd be interested to see the new book, for sure.

    I like your story about the "Vermont style" Sally :) I'm sure the kids enjoyed that!

  3. The kids were enthralled while watching me draw. I had a few kids sitting at my feet and they were sure to remind me to put the feet, antenna and anything else of importance into the drawing. Afterwards a couple kids came up to us and said they had fun and were glad they attended, as they almost decided to stay home since last years author visit was so boaring. Kids are also very good at giving unbiased opinions! LOL.