Cover Image

The Long, Long Line by T. Ohmura

Ohmura, Tomoko. The Long, Long Line. Toronto, ON: OwlKids Books, 2013. Print.

"Thank you for waiting, and welcome aboard! One at a time, please!" mentions the bird, who is the ride guide on this mysterious ride for which 50 different animals have patiently lined up. As they wait, the bird flies amongst them, offering reassuring words as they guess as to what they may be in line for and play word games to pass the time.  The anticipation builds, and finally they start boarding the ride, which turns out to be a very large whale on which the animals ride while the whale performs somersaults, dives and sprays. Children will be delighted by all 50 animals represented on the large gatefold spread in the center of the book, from the smallest frog to the largest elephant.

Children will love the small details such as the tail of the next animal in line ‘peeking’ around the corner of the page and the size of the animals increasing as they get closer to the ride giving perspective of size. A list of all 50 animals is included at the back for easy reference when young readers get stumped by a species. While this is indeed a picture book aimed at young children it is no quick read – children will want to hear every word of the animals’ conversations as they wait and will want to count as they go, and likely once all the animals are aboard the whale they will want to confirm there are indeed 50 animals present, perhaps multiple times.

The colourful illustrations by the author are cute and engaging and show a wide range of expressions and interplay between the animals.  The language felt slightly unnatural but this may be a result of this edition being a translation of the original Japanese work Nanno Gyoretsu? A fun book for public and elementary schools as well as a nice addition to science or math based storytime in lower elementary grades.

The Long, Long Line was selected as one of the best children’s books of 2013 by Kirkus Reviews.

Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Debbie Feisst

Debbie is a Public Services Librarian at the H.T. Coutts Education Library at the University of Alberta.  When not renovating, she enjoys travel, fitness and young adult fiction.