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Down in the Subway [Hardcover]

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Item Number 257502  
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Item description for Down in the Subway by Miriam Cohen & Melanie Hope Greenberg...

On a hot day on the subway, Oscar spies the "Island Lady," who proceeds to pull an island breeze, Caribbean foods, and even a steel drum band out of her bag to share with her fellow travelers.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   32
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.25" Width: 10" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2003
Publisher   Star Bright Books
ISBN  1932065083  
ISBN13  9781932065084  

Availability  0 units.

More About Miriam Cohen & Melanie Hope Greenberg

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Children > Ages 4-8 > General
2Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Explore the World > Fiction > Central & South America
3Books > Subjects > Children > People & Places > Where We Live > City Life > Fiction

Reviews - What do customers think about Down in the Subway?

Day-o! Daaay-aaay-aaay-aaay-o!  Sep 30, 2004
It's funny to think about the preconceptions a person brings to a book. When I picked up the picture book, "Down In the Subway" I was thinking it would be one of those staid and serious tales about what the subway is like. There would have been explanations about trains and lines and who built the tunnels and stuff like that. And I'm sure that there are books out there that list such information. This just isn't one of them. Nope, this is a Caribbean-infused tale of one boy's amazing subway trip. It's bright and fun and offer a great deal of surrealism for the kiddies.

Oscar and his mom and little brother are taking the 1 Line on the subway home. Oscar's a little shy, but he keeps looking at an Island Lady sitting on the train near him. The lady, "smiled a fine Islands smile" and asks the boy if he'd like to know what she has in her bag. Before you know it she's pulled cooled island breezes from its depths. She's removed the sea itself, delicious island foodstuffs (ackee rice, salt fish, callaloo, pineapple, and coconut tarts), as well as a Calypso Man. She pulls out a steel drum band and then an entire Island town itself. Then, in the midst of the entire subway car dancing and partying to beat of the band, Oscar and his mom reach their stop (125th street). They wave goodbye to the mysterious Island Lady and they never see her again. But that's okay. Oscar's remembered her song and, "sang it so much, pretty soon his baby brother could sing it too".

Author Miriam Cohen has truly penned a "Cat in the Hat", Manhattan style. But where the Cat's bag only held objects that wreaked destruction, the Island Lady's bag contains objects that bring a whole lotta good times. There's a great rhythm to the text of this tale. The repetitive phrase, "don't you know", ties the book together. The trippy Calypso Man's song offers a beat (which, if you can find a calypso tune to attach to it, could definitely be the high point of the text). There's a lot of life and verve to this tale and it's a pleasure to read. In a way, I wish the illustrations matched it perfectly. For the most part they do. Though they initially look to be cut paper pictures, they're actually just bright paints. The images pop out at you so brilliantly that you assume they're layered colored paper. Some of the perspectives are a little screwy here and there, but on the whole they're fun to flip through. If there is a severe flaw in this book, however, and it's the inclusion of the 125th street subway stop. I think author Miriam Cohen has visited that stop or she probably wouldn't have included it. Illustrator Melanie Hope Greenberg, however, has obviously never been there. 125th street stop (on the 1 or 9 Line) is one of the rare elevated subway stops out of doors. In the illustration, however, this line is supposed to be underground. Greenberg assumed all subway stops look the same and drew it without doing her research. Naughty Greenberg. Naughty.

But that's the extent of my criticism. On the whole, "Down In the Subway" is a great what-if story. It combines the realistic workings of mass transportation with the bright n' shiny rhythms of the sweet Caribbean seas. This book would be a fine pair with the similarly rhythmed, "Chicka Chicka Bang Bang". Consider them both for your next storytime, but only if you've an ear for bouncy texts. This book would definitely suffer if it was read by someone monotonely toned. So hep yourself up on caffeine and read the joyful text of "Down In the Subway" when the mood is right. It'll make you hunger for more.
Down in the Subway  Jan 6, 2003
What a fun book to read. This book lends itself so well to a riveting read aloud. Add your own voice accent and song rhythm as you rollick your way through the subway scene that is so aptly captured. Fun for the reader, fun for the hearers!

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