Cover image for Crossing
Booth, Philip, 1925-2007.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Cambridge, MA : Candlewick Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 30 cm
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC K-2 3.1 1 Quiz: 28231 Guided reading level: NR.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Vivid images in both poem and paintings create a close-up view of a freight train traveling through a crossing--a dramatic experience for young readers.

With the rhythm of its words recalling the cadence of a moving freight train, a poem by Philip Booth is fluidly joined with artwork by first-time illustrator Bagram Ibatoulline in this majestic picture book. Ibatoulline's dramatic and masterful paintings capture the American freight train in its heyday in astonishing detail. CROSSING promises to enthrall train enthusiasts of all ages.

Author Notes

Philip Booth is a Fellow of the Academy of American Poets and has been honored by Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. The poem "Crossing" appeared in his first book, Letter from a Distant Land. Of his inspiration for the poem, he says, "I grew up in White River Junction, Vermont, where the White River and the Connecticut River come together. Many, many trains come down the river valley, traveling from Montreal to Boston, on to New Haven and beyond. The real crossing of this poem, though, is in Brunswick, Maine."

Bagram Ibatoulline (pronounced E`bat`too LEEN) was born in Russia and graduated from the State Academic Institute of Arts in Moscow. He has worked in fine arts, graphic arts, mural design, and textile design. CROSSING is Bagram Ibatoulline's first picture book.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 6-9. In 1953 Booth published a propulsive, almost onomatopoeic rhymed poem, re-creating the experience of witnessing a huge freight train at a rural crossing in sound and rhythm: "Count the cars hauling distance / upgrade through the town: / warning whistle, bell clang, / engine eating steam, / engineer waving, / a fast-freight dream." This verse, which almost reads itself aloud as it runs along the bottom of each page, is paired in this new picture book with gouache paintings that fill the pages to the very edge. Ibatoulline, who was born in Russia, captures a nostalgic American sensibility, as the figures of grown-ups and children in circa 1930s garb wave at the engineer, are startled at meeting the cattle close up, or simply pause on their bikes and in their automobiles waiting for the snaking train to pass. The vintage clothes and cars, the country landscape, and the moth-wing colors make a fine foil for the energy of the poem. A natural read-aloud.--GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

"This pairing of Booth's nearly 50-year-old poem with the exceedingly lifelike gouache paintings of a first-time illustrator is right on track," PW wrote in a starred review. "This slice of Americana is sure to chug full steam ahead into the hearts of train enthusiasts young and old." Ages 5-9. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 4-Breathtakingly vivid gouache illustrations reminiscent of Norman Rockwell's work will draw children into this nostalgic poem about freight trains. "STOP LOOK LISTEN" is boldly printed across the first spread, a landscape of trees and grass with a close-up view of a railroad crossing. The eye follows the track to reveal thick billows of steam and smoke just beyond a curve in the background. Anticipation builds as, on the next spread, an old-fashioned, black steam engine appears. Readers will be amazed by its beauty when it pulls into the station. The gate comes down, the whistle blows, the bell clangs, and the engineer waves. The large-print text runs along the bottom of the page. The freight cars are named, and where they originated, as they roll by, "B&M boxcar,/-Frisco gondola,/-Erie and Wabash-." Children look at cars filled with coal, period automobiles, and cattle that seem real enough to touch. Then, as the engine puffs out smoke, the 100 cars circle toward a distant tunnel. The caboose passes, and everyday life resumes. This book captures a magnificent piece of American industrial and small-town history. It is excellent for reading independently or teamed with Donald Crews's Freight Train (Greenwillow, 1978) for a winning program.- Wanda Meyers-Hines, Ridgecrest Elementary School, Huntsville, AL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.