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WILLIAM AND THE NIGHT TRAIN by Mij Kelly

WILLIAM AND THE NIGHT TRAIN

By Mij Kelly (Author) , Alison Jay (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 6

Pub Date: March 21st, 2001
ISBN: 0-374-38437-1
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Even children who, like William, are "switched on like a light" when bedtime rolls around will drift off as the "train that goes to tomorrow" fills up with drowsy travelers: "Teachers and jugglers, sacks, cats, and packages, piglets in baskets and babies in bundles." William's fellow passengers have exaggeratedly wide middles and tiny extremities, as if viewed in a funhouse mirror, but the distortion is more comic than eerie, and suits the illustrations' curves and slanting perspectives to a "Z." Each car features a different arrangement of picture and words: sometimes text runs around the outside, sometimes it separates two-thirds from the rest, occasionally it rests on top of the illustration, and once it is even in the smoke of the train in a full-bleed spread. The train starts up at last; William cuddles close to his mother, listening to her heart and closing his wide eyes. Here they are flanked by a swooping train on the track, as the seat becomes a pasture. The engineer in his nightgown and stocking cap stands at the throttle as the train is "filling the world with billows of steam, soft see-through clouds that turn into dreams." Then suddenly it's coming into the station beneath a rising sun. A truly memorable ride, this ticket to dreamland will be good for many repeated trips. (Picture book. 4-6)