Wave the Flag and Blow the Whistle

Age Range: 5 - 11

"Ready, train, ready?" "Ready, everyone, ready?" Here's the train to Blueberry Hill, the train for Tom and Grandpa. WHO-O-O, WHO-O-O. Who wants to come too? Wave the flag and blow the whistle. This train is ready to go!

Book Author: Ronda Armitage

See More Books from this author

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • Retell the story in the form of a playscript, based on the speech in the book.
  • Look for examples of onomatopoeia in the book, e.g. 'trittity trot'.
  • Think of some questions that you could ask in an interview with a train driver / guard. What would you like to find out about their job?
  • Retell the story from the point of view of Spotty Raffe.
  • Can you find any similes in the story (e.g. dark as night)? Can you think of any more to describe a train journey (or parts of it)?
  • Think of some captions for the illustrations that don't have any text.
  • Think of words to describe a real train journey. Watch this video for some inspiration:


  • Look at a train timetable and use this to think of some word problems.
  • Find out the ticket prices for some local train journeys. Challenge your friends to work out the cost of a train ride for 2 adults and 2 children, or 3 adults etc.


  • Find out what materials are used to make trains.
  • Think about the forces that are taking place when a train is moving along the track.


  • Use publishing software to design some tickets for the train.

Design Technology

  • Make a model of a train.


  • Look at some photos of trains and use these as the starting point for your own pictures (see Resources below).
  • Draw some pictures showing the view from inside a train at different points on a journey.


  • Could you compose a song about a train ride?


  • Draw a story map showing the locations in the story, with captions / labels to show the things that happened there.
  • Look on a map of your local area and identify the train tracks. Where do they start? Where do they end?
  • Could you plan your own journey to someone on a train, using a timetable to help you?


  • Can you find out about the history of trains? When was the first train built? How have trains changed throughout history?


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