All aboard the sleep train!
The frontmatter pages introduce a child character reading a copy of Sleep Train—this very book—in bed. The child cuddles a stuffed animal on the title page. The perspective zooms out on the dedication and copyright double-page spread to show the child’s bedroom with a view of a city skyline at sunset. Turn the page again, and the lilting, rhyming text begins. “Sleep Train. Jiggling down that track. / Ten sleepy cars going clickety-clack.” The accompanying illustration of a train crossing a bridge with a city behind it removes readers from the bedroom to follow the train’s journey. Later pages count through the 10 cars, identifying the last as “the sleeping car” in which the child narrator is “all cozy in bed.” The illustrations are composed of digitally manipulated photographs of three-dimensional scenes that depict the train’s journey through various landscapes, with a few interior scenes of the sleeping car. The child narrator, who has brown skin and tightly curled black hair, is made of polymer clay. Unfortunately, as night falls, the progressive darkness of some scenes makes it difficult to see details in some illustrations. When the train approaches a station as the text counts through cars seven, eight, and nine, for example, darkness overwhelms the eye, and the image is hard to discern. The next spread, which depicts the entire train in near silhouette at a distance under a moonlit sky, is much more successful.
A lyrical, mostly lovely bedtime book. (Picture book. 2-4)