Cecil Bunions and the Midnight Train

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9780152928841: Cecil Bunions and the Midnight Train

When a young boy meets private eye Cecil Bunions aboard the mysterious Midnight Super Train, he dreams that he and Cecil race through the cars and jump off the train right before it disappears.

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From School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 2-A little boy takes a ride on the mysterious Midnight Express, whose wheels seem to clack "never coming, never coming, never coming back," and whose passengers are all monsters with abstractly shaped heads (reminiscent of Mr. Potato Head), golf-ball eyes, human bodies, and brightly colored curved horns. The child meets Mr. Bunions, a private detective and the only other human-looking person on the train. He manages to get them both off the train, through a herd of woolly sheep, out of the nightmare, and back in bed. This imaginative adventure is somewhat the opposite side of the coin from Chris Van Allsburg's Polar Express (Houghton, 1985) and Paul Fleischman's Time Train (HarperCollins, 1994). Those titles feature pleasant/exciting excursions, whereas this trip is quite definitely one to avoid. The rhyming text does not always scan and is sometimes disconcerting when a beat or two is added or missed. The illustrations are wildly unique, potentially frightening, and bursting with color, framed against the darkness of the night outside the train. In an open ending, the protagonist spots Mr. Bunion in his own town and begins to wonder if it really was a nightmare. This ambiguity may alarm sensitive children; however, the pre-"Goosebumps" (Scholastic) crowd will probably latch on to this book with unfeigned delight.
Judith Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

In this peculiar tale by the mother and son creators of Junior Kroll, a boy finds his way out of a nightmare. At first, the narrator doesn't know that he's dreaming. He boards a shadowy train and sits down among individuals whose horned heads and bizarre facial features resemble party masks. The dreamer's anxiety mounts as he listens to the locomotive: "She seemed to chant a message as he raced along the track:/ NEVER COMING, NEVER COMING, NEVER COMING BACK." Help is on the way, however. In the dining car, the boy meets a man in a gray suit and fedora ("Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Cecil Bunions./ I'm a private eye and those who know me say I know my onions"). Together, the two humans detach the caboose, and the boy falls through sheep-shaped clouds to his bedroom floor. Michael Paraskevas's foreboding gouaches convey a heightening tension as the slate-gray train hurtles along, its eye-shaped headlamps shining white against a dark blue sky. Betty Paraskevas's rhymes, despite their typically patchy meter, suggest a quickening pace and the necessity of escape. Yet while the two create an effectively surreal atmosphere, they put it to no discernible purpose. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Betty Paraskevas, Michael Paraskevas (Illustrator)
Published by Harcourt Childrens Books (J) (1996)
ISBN 10: 0152928847 ISBN 13: 9780152928841
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