|Image from PublishersWeekly.com|
Fleischman’s dead pan delivery makes for a magical and humorous time adventure. The text briefly describes the scenes that the train passes or that the children encounter in their play with the dinosaurs, but it is the illustrations that deliver the punch line to each carefully crafted joke. Ewart’s painted illustrations are colorful and lush with lots of funny details. The mostly unnamed students represent a variety of skin and hair colors and all of them approach this unexpected journey with curiosity and enthusiasm. Poor Miss Pym never quite relaxes on the field trip and her distraught actions are deliciously funny.
Use this book for a storytime about dinosaurs for kindergarten or elementary school students. Try pairing it with Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs or Dinotrux. You’ll want to have non-fiction books about dinosaurs and other prehistoric flora and fauna for kids to browse and check out.
Pair this book with other stories about time travel, such as The Secret Box, Charlie and Kiwi: An Evolutionary Adventure or Dinosaur Dream. Ask kids to talk or write about a place they would want to travel to in a different time. Where and why?
Bring out a map of the U.S. and figure out a possible route for the Rocky Mountain Unlimited. Make a timeline that charts the journey through time as well as space. Using your timeline guesstimate what the children might see out their window in other states or major cities. If you live close to a train station, pick up some travel brochures and train schedules. Have kids create a brochure advertising the wonders of riding on the Rocky Mountain Unlimited, as well as a train schedule to go along with it. You can also have kids create a menu for the dining car.