mentor texts · precise language

Onomatopoeia + a Giveaway

A review copy of Trains Go was provided by Chronicle Books.

Trains Go is a new 16 page board book by Steve Light.  It’s a book that helps a child differentiate between the sounds different trains make.  The board book helps readers hear the distinct sounds of a mountain train, a speed train, a steam train, a diesel train, etc.  It reminds readers that not all trains sound the same.  Light puts words to the sounds we hear a variety of trains make so we can differentiate between them in our own head.  (A well-known illustrator, Light does not disappoint with the trains he creates with bold colors on each page of this book!)

We can teach students how to use onomatopoeia artfully in their writing.  But first, we can them to listen to the world more closely.  We can inspire young writers to do this by reading aloud books like Trains Go and talking about the way authors work carefully to capture the sounds things make.

As writers we have to listen closely to the sounds around us to make sure that we’re capturing them correctly with the words we use to describe the sounds we hear.   Just the other day I was trying to capture the sounds my daughter makes when she chews finger foods for her baby book.  While I could’ve described her food noises as the typing “mmmmm” or “yummy-yummy,” those aren’t actually the noises that come out of her mouth.  I thought about Trains Go and the precision with which Light captures the sounds of the trains.  Therefore, I listened-in closely to Isabelle as she chewed on small pieces of cheddar cheese.  She was saying “aye-ya-ya-ya-ya” as she was chewing.  She doesn’t say “aye-ya-ya-ya-ya” when she eats pureed food.  Therefore, I thought I should capture this distinction in writing by listening closely to the sounds she makes when she eats.

Here’s a peek at two of the pages from Light’s book.  Please note: I was able to obtain jpgs of individual pages, rather than page spreads.  Therefore, a photo of Isabelle perusing Trains Go follows after the jpgs provided by Chronicle so you can see how wide the book is when it’s opened completely.

Left side of the caboose spread.
Right side of the caboose spread.
My little reader flips through Trains Go. It's a large rectangle, which makes it wonderful for illustrating the movement of a train.

Giveaway Information:

  • A special thank you to Chronicle Books for sponsoring a giveaway of one copy of Trains Go for one of our readers who resides in the U.S.A. or Canada.
  • To win a copy of the book please leave a comment about this post, in the comments section of this post by Friday, February 17th, 2012 at 11:59 p.m. EST. A random drawing will take place on Sunday, February 19th and the winner’s name will be announced in a blog post later that day.
  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address and have my contact at Chronicle send the book out to you.  Please note: Your e-mail address will not be published online.

27 thoughts on “Onomatopoeia + a Giveaway

  1. I’d love to have this book both for my literacy coaching and to share with my grandchildren. As Jack and Claire get older my books get to be enjoyed both places, but my husband always thinks I’m spending my “Nana” money. After all, why would I want more books for school? (You’d think he’d learn after being married to a teacher for years!)


  2. I am working with my Kindergartners on listening carefully, so this would be perfect. We are currently working on Poetry in Writer’s Workshop and trying to think of what all sorts of things sound like. I would be so pleased to have this for school (and my 13 month old son!)

    Carrie Kaczmarek


  3. Thank you for hosting this giveaway – what a fun and educational book, would be awesome to have for my soon to be 4 ear old
    Thank you for hosting this giveaway


  4. As a literacy coach who visits many classrooms of young learners, I hope to add this book to my toolkit. I think it will definitely engage the boy readers but also capture the girls’ interests as well.


  5. The wide page spread looks like it helps provide the effect that one is looking at actual trains. My sons would love this book and if I’m not the lucky winner I think I’ll buy a copy! Thanks for the post!


  6. This book looks so fun for my daughter who’s about to turn 2 (birthday present??)- she loves trains! When and if she outgrows it, it will definitely have a special place in my classroom. 🙂


  7. This book looks great. My studentsand I have been trying to figure out different letters that you can put together to make/create the sound that you want to put in your writing. It is an interesting challenge and a great way for them to practice stretching sounds…because a sound usually stretches naturally!


  8. It looks great, and as Freight Train by Donald Crews has been so popular with all the grandchildren, I think they will love this too. I did love the way you tried to ‘write’ Isabelle’s sounds. It’s hard, isn’t it? Plus, I think we’re all so used to the stereotypical goo-goo, gah-gah, etc. Thanks Stacey!


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