Steam Train, Dream Train

Sherri Duskey Rinker, Author, Tom Lichtenheld, Illustrator
Sherri Duskey Rinker, illus. by Tom Lichtenheld. Chronicle, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4521-0920-6
Reviewed on: 03/11/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
Like this team’s bestselling Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, this vehicular bedtime book revs up before winding down, and both text and art smoothly transition from stimulating to soothing. A train stops at the “Night Falls” station to pick up its animal crew, who energetically load the train: acrobatic monkeys carry monkey bars onto a boxcar, rabbits bounce aboard on pogo sticks, a polar bear fills a refrigerated car with giant ice cream sundaes, and leaping kangaroos toss balls into a hopper (“The crew hops to it, one and all—/ they get to work and have a ball!”). Rinker’s verse assumes a gentler lilt as the weary animals are pictured tucked into bed—on flatbed cars, fittingly—and the train is seen “Puffing, chuffing out of sight.../ Steam train, dream train.../ chhhhhh... goodnight.” Rendered in wax oil pastels, Lichtenheld’s moonlit illustrations have a lovely luster and a rich texture reminiscent of chalk drawings, using various shades of blue to evoke a magical midnight setting. A go-to goodnight story for train- and animal-loving preschoolers. Ages 1–6. Agent: Amy Rennert, Amy Rennert Agency. (Apr.)
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