Myrna Neuringer Levy
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  Title: "My Grandpa Plays with Trains"

This review by Catherine West, an elementary music/Orff specialist with the Toronto District School Board appeared in “VOICE”, the magazine of the Elementary Teacher’s Association of Ontario, Summer 2002 – Volume 4, No.4

"My Grandpa Plays with Trains" is a charming book about the relationship between Alex and his grandfather and their love of trains. One Sunday, Grandpa and Alex play with Grandpa's toy train collection. When it is time to return home, Alex cannot wait for the next weekend to join his grandfather and continue their adventures. Although Alex misses playing with his Grandpa, he still enjoys talking about the train-related things he is doing from Monday to Friday.

The book is recommended for primary students. Their curiosity with transportation will certainly be satisfied by Ian Crysler's highly detailed photographs of the train world in miniature. Parents and teachers will also appreciate the nostalgic feeling evoked in the photos for a bygone era that many of us only have access to through grandparents.

Levy conveys a very close relationship between Alex and Grandpa where the latter provides a useful link to a time with which most parents are not familiar. Levy has made an effort to appeal to both boys and girls in this age group. Alex wishes his friend Devony could come and see his grandfather's trains, but she has moved away. Toward the end of the book, Devony stays with Alex over the weekend and is so fascinated with Grandpa's collection that she hopes to bring her own grandfather to visit one day.

There is also a very positive message about how play is both an end in itself and a means of discovery for other aspects of a child's life. Alex creates train patterns at school using rectangles and circles, watches a train television program, learns a train song and reads a book on trains.

Myrna Neuringer Levy has created a delightful story depicting the warm and loving relationships that celebrate similarities across time and distance.

© Myrna Levy 2008