Wordless Book – Trainstop


Lehman, Barbara. 2008. Trainstop. HMH Books.

Genre : Wordless book
Suggested readers : Primary


A girl and her parents board a subway that travels aboveground through a cityscape and then plunges into a tunnel. When the train again emerges into the light, the window suddenly reveals a view of a green countryside with houses and a windmill in the distance. A man wearing striped pants and holding a straw hat brings the train to a halt with a long, bannerlike flag. The child disembarks and is welcomed by a group of miniature people. They lead her to a tree where a plane and its presumed pilot are entangled. With help from a little person, the youngster rescues both the plane and pilot. Waving good-bye, she returns to the train and eventually disembarks with her parents at their urban home. The pilot and a friend fly to her building, giving the girl a gift to commemorate her adventure. The plot of the narrative illustrations is easy to follow. The artwork varies in size from six panels per page to full spreads. The characters’ facial features are kept to a minimum, but the placement of dot eyes, dot noses, and line mouths clearly presents their emotions. Lehman’s simple fantasy offers a positive lesson on helping others that will stretch readers’ imaginations.

— Lynn K. Vanca, Akron-Summit County Public Library, Richfield, OH


Personal appreciation

I love wordless books ! They are very new to me and are an interesting and different avenue to try with primary kids. Make sure to google « Wordless Books » and you will find them on various themes and even for a secondary clientele.


Ideas of what you can do with this book 

 Step 1

  • Show the cover of the book first. Ask students to describe the cover image, and predict what they think the book will be about. Who are the characters? What do they imagine the characters will do?

Predicting story elements will encourage them to use their previous experiences and develop the critical thinking skills necessary to comprehend the plot.

  • Go through the book for the first time with students very slowly. Allow them to take in the images on all the pages, and ask them to hold their questions or comments until the end. Ask students to think about the predictions they made based on the cover of the book and talk about whether their predictions were right or wrong.
  • Write a simple story with students as a model.

Step 2

  • Invent your own story. You can draw, take magazine cut-outs, your own pictures, choose a template on storybird…
  • Examples of instructions :
    • Your book must have 6 to 8 pages including 3 to 5 sentences per page.
    • Use the simple present tense. Ex: My dog is faithful and friendly. I like to walk my dog.
    • Use the plurial of irregular words (children, feet, theet, etc.)
    • Pay attention to the word order (adjective before the noun) ex: the green dinosaur.

– Tanja Vaillancourt, English Consultant, CSSH

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