I almost squealed aloud when I found Steam Train, Dream Train in the new books bin at the library. The DLM and I love Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, and this one has the same look about it, given that it’s also illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. Like most little boys, the DLM loves trains almost as much as he loves heavy equipment, so how could this one miss? This steam train is picking up load after load of toys and other things kids like–balls, pogo sticks, erector sets, building blocks, paints, sand, race cars, even ice cream. The train crew is composed entirely of animals, and each load is matched to the workers that load it–monkeys load monkey bars, rabbits load pogo sticks, etc. The story unfolds in a pleasant rhyme scheme reminiscent of the rhythmic sound one would hear while traveling by train:
The flatbed cars are rolling beds.
The weary crew can rest their heads,
and settle in, and tuck in tight.
Their work is finished for tonight.
The names of the various cars of the train are in bold print, so there’s also a bit of subtle teaching going on with this fabulous bedtime book. By the end of the story, everyone except the giraffe who’s on lookout is asleep, including the little boy in whose bedroom this Steam Train, Dream Train resides. Lichtenheld’s illustrations are muted, dark, grainy, and lovely–perfect for a nighttime read, and he even includes a little owl on one of the pages, a nod to Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site.
Did I mention that I love this book? I think I love it a little more than the DLM. 😉 Although it hasn’t taken caught on quite as much as I expected, I attribute that to the fact that we haven’t read it nearly enough. It has ended up languishing in the library bin instead of on the shelf by the DLM’s bed, so it really hasn’t had the opportunity to capture his imagination like I expected. I still have high hopes for it, though, and I’m really considering adding it to our own personal collection. Highly Recommended. (Chronicle, 2013)