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Steam Train, Dream Train

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Steam Train, Dream Train [Hardcover]

Sherri Duskey Rinker , Tom Lichtenheld
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (335 customer reviews)

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Editorial Reviews Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, April 2013: The bestselling team behind Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site has done it again with a new book for bedtime even more appealing than the last. From the opening page of Steam Train, Dream Train, to each gorgeously illustrated spread thereafter, the story of an animal crew loading the train cars with balls, race cars, and ice cream, has a gentle, soothing rhythm perfect for reading aloud. By the end, preschoolers should be relaxed enough to follow their own dream train into the starry night and parents can expect to read this one again and again. --Seira Wilson

From School Library Journal

PreS-K-From out of the midnight darkness comes a mighty train heading to Night Falls station. With clouds of steam hissing from the smokestack and brakes squealing, it comes to a stop and the animal crew jumps out, ready to load up the cars with freight. A rambunctious bunch of monkeys fills the boxcar with toys while kangaroos toss balls into the open-topped hopper car. Purple elephants use their trunks to fill the tanker cars with different colored paints as a polar bear and penguin put giant ice-cream sundaes in the reefer car. After such a hard night's work, the crew beds down on the flatbed car, ready for the steam engine to fire up and take them to dreamland. The strength of this book is in the striking spreads in wax oil pastel. A vast night sky is filled with sparkly stars and large billowing clouds that frame the oncoming train traveling through a realistically silhouetted landscape, while the animal crew looks strangely toylike, as though made of plush and plastic. It is not until the final spread that this incongruous bunch, and this whole dream, is explained by a nighttime look at a young train lover's bedroom. The beginning and end of the book are filled with expressive and enjoyable railroad sounds, yet the rhyming text loses a bit of steam in the middle, describing but not always enhancing the activity depicted in the illustrations. Still, this is a book that will, like its predecessor, Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site (Chronicle, 2011), be embraced as a nighttime standard, particularly among train lovers everywhere.-Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Rinker and Lichtenheld hit pay dirt with Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site (2011) and follow that success with another rhyming bedtime adventure full of sweet surprise. A train pulls into Nightfalls Station to be loaded with cargo, and page by page, different animals stock a series of cars, each with items suited to their species (rabbits load pogo sticks, polar bears load ice cream). When the cargo is complete, the train departs, and we see it circling the floor at the foot of a child’s bed in a pool of moonlight. The romantic rhyming text (“Through the darkness, clickety-clack . . . / coming closer, down the track . . . / hold your breath so you can hear / huffing, chuffing drawing near”) never refers to the animals by name, allowing the audience to make the clever matches on their own. The different train cars, with the technical name for each given in slightly bolded typeface, add special appeal for young railroad aficionados. Working in vivid oil pastels on dark gray paper, Lichtenheld captures the luminous magic of dreams set against the endless dark of nighttime, while also adding a touch of comedy with his grinning, cartoony animal characters. Kids will clamor for this one at bedtime and storytime alike. Preschool-Kindergarten. --Thom Barthelmess


"A book imbued with moonlit magic."--The Washington Post

"I will be sharing Steam Train, Dream Train with some very excited students this week..." - Laura Given, Librarian

"I loved Steam Train, Dream Train.... Can I see it becoming a favorite bedtime story? I most certainly can." - Roundtable Reviews

"I expect this one to fly off the shelves." - Jen Robinson's Book Page

"I couldn't wait to get my hands on this rhythmic, rhyming hypnotic vehicle bedtime book from the team who brought us the best selling Good Night, Good Night, Construction Site. It's another winner." - Lisa Von Drasek, Early Word

"Destined to be a bedtime classic." -

"Another winner for bedtime." - The San Francisco Chronicle

"A great bedtime book." - 5 Minutes for Books

"A go-to goodnight story for train- and animal-loving preschoolers." - Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A feeling of warmth and an old-fashioned nursery aura abound." - Kirkus Reviews

"Kids will clamor for this one at bedtime and storytime alike." - Booklist, starred review

"Skillfully combines both the factual and imaginative guises of trains in a playful picture book." - The Wall Street Journal

"Rhythmic, engaging, and beautiful." -'s Omnivoracious blog

"Steam Train, Dream Train has the look and feel of a classic." - Common Sense Media

School Library Journal Best Books of the Year

Chicago Public Library Best Picture Books of the Year

"Will be embraced as a nighttime standard, particularly among train lovers everywhere."-School Library Journal, starred review

"The combination of words and drawings is sure to stir the imaginations of little ones as it lulls them to sleep." -

About the Author

Sherri Duskey Rinker lives in Chicago with her photographer husband and two energetic, inquisitive sons: one fascinated by bugs and magic, and the other by trucks and trains. She created this goodnight story in hopes of happier bedtimes and sweet dreams for all. Find out more about Sherri at

Tom Lichtenheld loves drawing pictures and telling silly stories. His books include the New York Times bestseller Duck! Rabbit!, Wumbers, and the ALA Notable Children's Book, E-mergency! He lives in Geneva, Illinois. Visit him at
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