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NIGHT TRAIN by Caroline Stutson


by Caroline Stutson & illustrated by Katherine Tillotson

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7613-1598-5
Publisher: Roaring Brook

A little boy and his father take the night train to visit Grandma in this rhyming story told with few words and huge, double-page-spread illustrations. Stutson (Cowpokes, 1999, etc.) provides the short, poetic text in rhyming couplets with evocative language describing sights and sounds. Her writing conveys the little boy’s excitement at his first train ride and at traveling in an unusual way at an unusual time with his daddy all to himself. Tillotson (Nice Try, Tooth Fairy, 2000, etc.) works with shades of blue, lavender, and gold to convey the gigantic size and power of the train, effectively capturing the other-worldly sense of speeding through the night while the golden lights of other places fly by. She varies her perspectives so that the reader looks at the train (and the boy inside the train) from different angles, adding to the sense of motion and the overall feeling of a long journey. The vaguely old-fashioned setting suggests the ’30s or ’40s, with tall skyscrapers and a huge train station with a vaulted ceiling. The oversized format and consistent use of double spreads make this an ideal addition to story hours with train or travel themes. (Picture book. 3-7)