A boy believes in magic and its curative powers.
Marty accompanies his mother on a business trip only to have to rush home as his critically ill father worsens. He has always been close to his father and is devastated when he realizes that a denim jacket with its collection of special buttons—a gift from his father—is missing. But Marty’s father has told him the story of the magical Train of Lost Things, and he just knows in his heart that if he finds the train, he can reclaim the jacket and all will be well. Paquette now focuses her story on Marty and the train: how he finds it, boards it, and meets another passenger, a girl named Dina Khan. Unfortunately, the train is not running properly, and the piles of lost treasures are strewn all helter-skelter. There is one more person on the train, a girl named Star, who explains the train’s problems. Marty disembarks, and after his father’s death, he receives a special, unmarked package with the best gift of all. The adventure on the train is engaging enough, but it subsumes the real-life impetus for Marty’s search. Readers may find it difficult to sort out mourning the very real loss of a parent from all the magical elements herein. The ethnicity of the characters is not specified beyond Dina’s name, implying a white default.
The death of a father is rendered palatable by the magical properties of a train. (Fantasy. 9-12)