The Train of States

Common Sense Media says

Book of fascinating state facts keeps kids busy.





What parents need to know

Educational value

Lots of information presented in an accessible way.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this isn't a book that you'll want to read straight through. Instead, it's a book to explore, full of fascinating facts that encourages you to flip around, skipping to the information that most interests you and coming back again and again to the parts you missed.

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

There's no story here -- Peter Sis has simply taken lots of little facts for each of our 50 states (and Washington DC) and created a handy little guide for kids by plastering the info across boxcars. Each state's bird, tree, and flower are represented, but kids will also learn what each state considers a claim to fame. For example, the Tennessee boxcar features Elvis, and North Dakota shows us the International Peace Garden.

Is it any good?


There's a lot of information here, but it's presented in a fun, easy way that will turn kids on to state trivia. The book also encourages further research with little blurbs at the bottom of the page, like mentioning that Levi Strauss created blue jeans in 1853 to outfit prospectors in California. For kids who aren't sure where to start, parents can always flip straight to their home states and then flip around some more to find others that are familiar, like the one where Grandma was born or the one where Grandpa is living now.

Lots of interesting illustrations keep it entertaining while giving kids another way to memorize the info.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes each state unique. Each state has its own motto. What do the mottos mean? And how do they apply to our own lives?

  • Kids will like picking out the animals that are common to each state, too, and might want to find out more about, say, a butterfly called Dogface that is native to California!

  • Kids may be surprised by which states came first. Did you know that Georgia was a state before Massachusetts?

  • Budding birdwatchers might be fascinated by the state birds. Head to the library for a guide that has real photos and find out what birds are visiting your backyard or nearby park.

  • Kids might want to make a family poster similar to the illustrations

  • Sis made for each state. Families can come up with a family bird, a

  • family motto, and even a family flag!

Book details

Author:Peter Sis
Illustrator:Peter Sis
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Greenwillow Books
Publication date:September 21, 2004
Number of pages:64
Read aloud:5
Read alone:10

This review of The Train of States was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 18 year old Written July 21, 2009


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