Windy Wyndham and the Wagon Who Couldn’t Swim by P. Gould
Gould, Peter. Windy Wyndham and the Wagon Who Couldn’t Swim. Bassendean, Western Australia, Peter Gould and Donna Franklin, 2018.
This is the sixth volume in Peter Gould’s Stories from the Engine Shed series. These books tell the stories of the train engines and cars of the Bennett Brook Railway at Whiteman Park, near Perth in Western Australia. Apart from being a fun series of children’s books, this series is important because it demonstrates that the concept of anthropomorphized train cars is generic and does not belong to any particular franchise. The series has its own cast of characters and a unique Western Australian world in which they operate. While earlier volumes have been set in Whiteman Park, this is a story told by the large diesel locomotive, Windy Wyndham that harkens back to a time when Windy worked at the harbour in the northwestern Australian coastal town of Wyndham.
The book is full of Donna Franklin’s brightly coloured pictures. The style of illustration varies significantly, even within pictures. Some of the images, particularly those with machines and people, are quite cartoonish. Drawings of people sometimes lack detail. However, when the subject is something in nature, Franklin’s work is stronger. Her rendition of a turtle, a crocodile, magpie-larks and seahorses are lovely.
Each page is a picture with text overprinted. The text includes local references, such as the Freemantle Doctor, the cooling breeze that comes from the Indian Ocean. There are also some railway-specific words, such as “buffer beam”, “shunter”, and “cow catcher.” These words are explained in the glossary, “Ashley’s Railway Words”, at the end of the book.
While not widely distributed, the series is available through the Bennett Brook Railway. This volume includes a loose single page insert that explains the history of the real Windy Wyndham engine, which has been at Whiteman Park since 1984.
Overall, this is an excellent series, which is suitable for elementary school libraries and public libraries.
Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Sandy Campbell
Sandy is a Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Alberta, who has written hundreds of book reviews across many disciplines. Sandy thinks that sharing books with children is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).