It is one thing to put a child to sleep. It is another thing entirely to keep them there.
In this unnecessary sequel to Sobel and Huliska-Beith’s The Goodnight Train (2006), the stalwart locomotive of dreams attempts the near-impossible task of keeping its passengers recumbent. The rhythmic clacking text is back, with its soothing “Chugga! Chugga! Shhhhhhh! Shhhhhhh!” Unfortunately, a smooth journey this is not. There are naughty sheep to negotiate (counting them helps), a moon that’s just too darn bright, and an unexpected detour over Wild Dream Hill, all of which threaten to waken the sleepers. Undaunted, the train goes on, lulling as it does, until the morning light appears. All curves and purple skies in its languid art, the book makes some bold choices, as when it demands a 90-degree turn to open vertically, suggesting the height of a steep hill. That said, this book fails to reach the soporific heights of its predecessor, making it less a book for urging young eyelids to close and more a storytime adventure. There are plenty of fun details to find hidden in the mix, though it is unlikely that this is a book that will be requested for multiple readings.
Perfectly charming, but with little to distinguish it from other bedtime trains in the field, perhaps it is time to put this series to bed. (Picture book. 4-7)