The Definitive Guide to

Two Little Trains

Written by Margaret Wise Brown & illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
Published by HarperCollins
4.5 / 7.0
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Goodreads Rating - 3.4 / 5.0
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What Does Bookroo Think of This Book

“The classic tale from beloved children’s book author Margaret Wise Brown is given a fresh look but loses its storyline.”

Readers follow the cross country journey of two trains, a sleek, modern bullet train and a traditional steam engine train. The two trains journey west across long steel tracks as they puff and chug through a variety of settings: over a bridge, through a tunnel, and up a mountainside. In one of the few instances of rhyming in the story, they also “got white and furry” though “still in a hurry” as they travel through a snowstorm. There are reflective notes, like “Look down that long steel track / where you and I must go; / that long steel track and strong cross bars, / before we travel home,” though the text is changed to refer to an “old man singing in the West” rather than “a black man singing in the West.” Pizzoli’s illustrations are playful and abstract, created using custom rubber stamps. While modern and fun, they also greatly change a reader’s understanding of the story from the original 1949 illustrations by two-time Caldecott Medalists Leo and Diane Dillon, which parallel an actual train’s journey and a toy train’s journey. In Pizzoli’s depiction, the story seems lacking in a substantive storyline, making it an actual but confusing, almost pointless journey of an old and a new train to the West that Pizzoli terminates in the middle of a desert.

What's This Book About

Publisher Summary

“Skillfully designed and composed, Pizzoli’s cheerful interpretation is thoroughly modern and charming. Swoonworthy for train lovers and preschoolers alike.” ―Kirkus (starred review)

The classic picture book from Margaret Wise Brown about two trains and their cross-country journey from east to west, with a bold new look from Geisel Award–winning artist Greg Pizzoli.

Two little trains went down the track,

Two little trains went West.



Two little trains to the West.

A streamlined train and a little old train journey through hills and over mountains, crossing rivers and plains, in this treasured story from Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight Moon. Reimagined with bold and vibrant art by Geisel Award–winning artist Greg Pizzoli, this updated edition is perfect for fans of things that go.

Makes for a great baby shower gift!

What Kind of Book is Two Little Trains

Trusted Reviews & Ratings

The Book Snob Mom
Mom of boys. Lover of Harry Potter, Jane Austen and believes one can never own too many children's books!
4.25 / 7.0
The Goodfather
Favorite pastime? Reading with my kids. Just finished Nana Cracks the Case!
4.5 / 7.0
B is for Bookworm
Book-loving mommy-to-be! Recently enjoyed The Hobbit, Becoming, and The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel.
4.75 / 7.0

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Who Wrote Two Little Trains

Margaret Wise Brown

Margaret Wise Brown is one of the most popular children’s authors of all time; her classic Goodnight Moon (HarperFestival), illustrated by Clement Hurd, has sold more than 24 million copies, and her books—including Big Red Barn (Harper Festival), The Runaway Bunny (HarperCollins), and The Golden Egg Book (Simon & Schuster)—have been in print for over 50 years. Several generations have grown up with her timeless stories and her influence has been felt around the world. (Bio via Sterling Fall 2018 Catalog.)

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Who Illustrated Two Little Trains

Greg Pizzoli

Greg Pizzoli is an author, an illustrator, and a printmaker. His picture books include The Watermelon Seed; Good Night Owl; Tricky Vic; and North, South, East, West, which was also written by Margaret Wise Brown. When not traveling on trains, he can be found at home in Philadelphia with his wife, their dog, and two cats. Visit him at

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What Has Margaret Wise Brown Said About This Book

Nothing yet! 🤷 You should let Margaret know that you want more details about Two Little Trains!

What Has Greg Pizzoli Said About This Book

Nothing yet! 🤷 You should let Greg know that you want more details about Two Little Trains!

Greg Pizzoli's Book Dedication

for Ed Emberley

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Book Details

Publication Date:
March 3, 2020
Illustration Details:
The artist used custom-made rubber stamps and Adobe Photoshop to create the illustrations for this book.

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Core Score - 55%
More than halfway there—keep going!
Depth Score - 9%
Just the barebones.
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