Perfect Picture Book Friday-I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track

Before we get to my choice for Perfect Picture Book Friday, I want to thank Diane for presenting me with not one, but two awards this week. Thanks, Diane, for the Kreative Blogger Award and for the Sunshine Award. Visit Diane at her blog, here, to read great stuff about writing.

Accepting the awards requires that I answer some questions. I saw that there were different questions for each award, so I chose my favorite ones. :•)

Favorite color: Today it is purple
Favorite animal: Cats Favorite Cat: Otis
Favorite number: Seven
Favorite non-alcoholic drink: Water and an occasional Coke
Prefer Facebook or Twitter: Facebook
My passion: Writing, family, friends
Prefer getting or giving presents: Giving
Favorite pattern: AABB or possibly ABAB or sometimes ABBA (Hee! Hee! What can I say…I’m a rhymer!)
Favorite day of the week: Saturday~No alarm :•)
Favorite flower: Gerber Daisies

Now on to make favorite time of the week Perfect Picture Book Friday. This week, I have chosen to review I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track.

I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track

Written by Joshua Prince and Illustrated by Macky Pamintuan

Publisher: Sterling  2006

Ages: 3-7

Themes: Humor, Rhyme, Cause and Effect

Synopsis: (from Amazon) When Switchman Jack sees a black ant strolling down the railroad track in search of a snack, he tries to reroute a 10-ton freight train. However, the switch is stuck, and, just when readers start to worry that there will be an ant-astrophe, the tale takes a turn.

Opening Lines:

“Well, I saw an ant on the railroad track.
The rail was bright.
The ant was black.
He was walking along, tickety-tack.
(That’s the sound of an ant on a railroad track.)

A Few of the Lines I Couldn’t Resist:

Now an eastbound ant will run right smack
into a westbound train
on an westbound track
if the switchman working the switchman’s shack
doesn’t switch that ant to a different track.

Resources: Listen Along Storybook I didn’t find other resources, but this book would add a fun element to a unit on insects, or to a unit on transportation. This books seems to use every single word that ends with “ack”, so it would be handy in a rhyming unit.  Also…if little hobo ant doesn’t get his carcass off the railroad track, he will be smacked…pretty clear cause and effect. There are other instances of cause and effect in the story, also.

Why I Like This Book: I love rhyme. A good rhyming book has a meter that is irresistible and that is exactly what this book has. The train-like cadence brings the tension alive as the reader wonders how in the world the Ant will stay in this world. The humor comes alive as Switchman Jack puts forth his best effort to save one little ant. This is a perfect read aloud. The illustrations are just beautiful. The illustrator, Macky Pamintuan, does a wonderful job with perspectives from a tiny ant to a brawny switchman to a huge freight train.

Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book Friday on her blog. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, and mainly just perfect for those who love to read picture books. Here is a list of books by category. This is very handy for finding books for lessons in the classroom, or for finding books on a particular topic to discuss with your children at home. Each book listed has a link to a review and information about that book. There is also an alphabetical list if you scroll down past the category list.

29 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday-I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track

  1. Hi Penny,
    First off, what a kind and thoughtful review! I’m really glad you enjoyed Ant & Jack (my shorthand for the book).

    This April has been bringing me back to the year I wrote the book, because I’m still commuting to my “real” job, and the early morning sun stil glints off the shiny bright rails of the railroad track. But haven’t seen an ant out walking this season…yet!

    If you’re ever interested, I have a second adventure, “I Saw an Ant in the Parking Lot.” You can check it out here: And if you (or anyone else) would like a signed, personalized bookplate (they’re cute), I’m happy to send one just for the asking. There’s a link on my site that emails me directly.

    Enjoying your blog…thanks again for all the reading encouragement!

    Best, Joshua Prince


    1. Joshua,
      Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read my review of your book. That means a lot to me. I haven’t read your second book yet, but it is at the top of my list! I would love a personalized bookplate and will head on over to your website to put in my request. Thanks!


  2. What a fun book and the rhyme is absolutely perfect and fun to say! I have a rhyming book and I need to consider books like this one to teach me rhythm and rhyme. Thank you so very much. Wonderful addition for the list.

    Congrads on your award. It is well deserved. 🙂


  3. We’ve read this one and I agree that it is a fun read! I am always blown away by rhymers since I am not one. Maybe I should study this book and try to get better! Thanks, Penny!


  4. Congratulations on your awards! I have to show this book to my Dad. He is always singing a song about a peanut on the railroad tracks (that gets turned into peanut butter). I like the rhyme in this book!


  5. This sounds really fun, Penny. And having written a rhyming book with a Switchman Jack and an eastbound and westbound train, I think I’m going to HAVE to read this one! 🙂 I like your activity ideas too! Thanks so much for another fun rhyming title!!!


    1. Yes…you HAVE to read it. I didn’t even think about suggesting an activity that would include north, south, east, and west! Wouldn’t that be fun to have a map with trains and ants?


  6. I’m amazed at the ideas authors come up with for stories. This one certainly caught my eye Penny. I enjoyed the story, the message and the illustration. The cover had me! Great review and selection today!


    1. Thanks, Patricia. The cover is what caught my eye, too. I saw it at the library when I made my weekly run to pick up PPBF books. I opened to the first page and knew I HAD to read it.


  7. What a great choice Penny. My kids enjoyed this one. I’m going to borrow this one again for the library. I’ve been trying to practice meter and this one would be perfect. Thanks for your review and links.


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