Take the Night Train: Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
THROUGH THE DARKNESS, CLICKETY CLACK,
COMING CLOSER, DOWN THE TRACK,
HOLD YOUR BREATH SO YOU CAN HEAR.
HUFFING, CHUFFING, DRAWING NEAR.
Rolling into the Night Falls station, a little steam train chugs to a stop just as the sky begins to darken. It is time to take on a load, and the railway crew rolls open the boxcar doors and begins their work.
Rabbits bound up the ramp on pogo sticks, a troupe of monkeys trundle monkey bars and juggle skate boards aboard, A camel carrying blocks and erector sets and kites and bikes comes behind, and a polar bear schleps a giant ice cream sundae into the refrigerator car, where the penguin has already positioned blocks of ice. And then the elephants step up, their trunks at the ready, to squirt some liquid cargo into the tank cars.
TANKERS LINING UP IN A ROW
ARE GETTING FILLED WITH PAINTS TO GO.
One by one all the specialized freight cars get loaded--the autorack with race cars, the gondola cars with sandbox sand, the well cars with dinos--and then it's time for the real business of this night train, the flatbed cars filled with... well, comfy beds for the weary railway crew. And as the caboose clacks by, this train is ready for its real journey:
THE FREIGHT AND CREW ARE TUCKED AWAY.
THE NEXT STOP... ANOTHER DAY.
Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld are the capable creator crew of this night train whose manifest is a dreamland delivery. Rinker and Lichtenheld, whose best-selling debut, Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site (see my review here), has pretty much owned the bedtime book business since its publication, have rolled out another winner aboard their delightfully designed latest, Steam Train, Dream Train (Chronicle Books, 2013).
Rinker's cozy couplets chug along just right for her preschool audience, and Lichtenheld's lovely illustrations make good use of his twilight palette, loaded with rich deep blues, lavenders, and violets, showing comfy animal characters and a kid-pleasing cargo that recall Watty Piper's classic The Little Engine That Could. But though their brand-new best-selling tale begins with a merry huff and puff, a hustle and bustle, this nighttime train is surely bound for bedtime and and the land of sweet dreams.