Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
The author/illustrator team that brought you the bestselling Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site returns with another gorgeous transportation-themed bedtime book. The cheerful rhyme invites children to explore the different types of train cars and what sorts of items are stowed in each one. This is done by a monkey crew who move monkey bars into the boxcars with tumbling moves and lots of bananas. The hopper car is filled with bouncy balls by kangaroos and a helpful giraffe. Elephants squirt paints into tankers with their trunks, each train car a different color. The cold reefer car holds ice cream treats as well as polar bears and penguins. Gondolas are filled with sand, beach balls and toys. The autorack has lots of fast racecars. The well cars have dinosaurs and their lunches. Finally there are the flatbeds made into beds and the red caboose, the train heads off to a new day.
First let me comment on the endpages which are done in train engineer cloth pattern and really invite young train enthusiasts to read on. The book has that wonderful rhyme that is playful and youthful, dancing along merrily to the beat. That sense of play is evident throughout the book, as the different animals load the train with things that will interest very young readers. All of it has a silly tone that makes it great fun to read.
Lichtenheld’s illustrations add to that silliness with small touches that are such fun to discover. Done in a soft yet rich style, the illustrations invite you to dream along with the book. Their deep color captures the nighttime setting while the softness will have little heads snuggling in close.
A worthy companion to the first book, get this into the hands of little engineers and fans of Thomas the Tank Engine. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.