The Long, Long Line

When the library receives new picture books, I scan all of them. Then, I decide which ones to take home. It’s amazing the details I miss in my initial look. As a prolific reader, my eyes are drawn immediately to words, not illustrations. ML’s eyes are drawn to the illustrations first. I love how she helps me look at books in a new way.

The Long, Long Line by Tomoko Ohmura is one of these books. The first page’s illustrations are a simple sign, “Please Line Up in Single File” and a drawing of #50 Frog. For eighteen pages, it’s a mystery why the animals are in line. A bird, the line monitor, appears on each page spread providing instructions, encouragement and polite reprimands. Finally, we meet elephant, the line leader, and find out why everyone is waiting.

Bird welcomes the animals aboard the Jumbo Coaster. A ride on the biggest animal in the world – the whale. It reminds me of my favorite childhood roller coaster. Both rides include three amazing feats. The Mind Bender was touted as the first triple-loop roller coaster. The Jumbo Coaster’s whale provides three thrills… The Whale Somersault, The Whale Dive and The Whale Spray.

After our first reading, ML stated, “Mommy the line goes from the biggest animal to the smallest.” She was correct, so we explored the pictures further. The sheep is afraid to move. There’s a wolf in front of him. The baby kangaroo is crying “Are we there yet” from his mother’s pouch. One animal starts a game of “Word Chain.” If you want to learn how to play Word Chain, you’ll have to read the book. I promise it will make waiting in line more enjoyable. ML started spelling homework this week. Before I know it, we’ll be able to play Word Chain.

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