When the pajama-clad boy in Cowley's (the Mrs. Wishy Washy books) scrupulously detailed bedtime book can't get to sleep, the solution is to board the "Bedtime Train," en route to a muted dream landscape: "Can you hear it through the wall?/ Hear it coming down the hall?" The use of second person makes an exotic trip feel cozy, as does the legion of scarf-wearing penguins appearing on nearly every page. Rhyming couplets accompany the soothing chug of the train as it passes "a howling wolf, a growling bear," continuing to "Alligator Lake," and then to the realm of dinosaurs. Odone (Honey Badgers) renders images like "Bright red popcorn.../ pouring from the gum machine" as gently as the rise and fall of the poetic cadence, and his animals show no real claws, given the subdued colors as well as their affable expressions. As the Bedtime Train is engineered by Brad, "who looks a bit like your own dad" (no mothers or mother stands-in here), the grand effect is more that of roaming through a museum space than a true hinterland, enabling sleep-resistant readers to enjoy the ornate journey without overexuberance or worry about returning safely home. Ages 4-7. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Bedtime Trainby Joy Cowley, Jamison Odone (Illustrator)
A bedtime book for dads to share. When it's hard to go to sleep, watch out for Brad (who looks a lot like Dad!), engineer of the Bedtime Train. He'll take you to places wild (filled with bears and wolves and alligators) and full of adventures. Will that bridge tumble? Will those dinosaurs bite? Not to worry. The Bedtime Train is invincible, especially with Brad at
A bedtime book for dads to share. When it's hard to go to sleep, watch out for Brad (who looks a lot like Dad!), engineer of the Bedtime Train. He'll take you to places wild (filled with bears and wolves and alligators) and full of adventures. Will that bridge tumble? Will those dinosaurs bite? Not to worry. The Bedtime Train is invincible, especially with Brad at the throttle and you in command! And when you get home, sleep awaits you in a warm bed.
First published as a poem in Highlights magazine (1999), this bouncy text honors fathers who tell bedtime stories. When a young boy can't sleep, the bedtime train is called in, along with an engineer who looks suspiciously like Dad. Accompanied by some penguin friends, they travel down the street, through a wild forest, over Alligator Lake, past a pack of dinosaurs, and into ice and snow, where they become lost, until the youngster takes charge and returns them home. With heavy Sendak influence, the pen-and-watercolor artwork uses a soft warm palette, rounded lines, and unusual proportions and details to keep everything dreamy. Unfortunately, the crowded illustrations don't enhance the text as much as they make it more nebulous and confusing. Consider this only for larger picture-book collections.-Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA
A tired little boy has trouble falling asleep so he calls the bedtime train—whose engineer looks remarkably like his father. The train, which contains the bed, the boy and his toy penguins, chugs through town and country and meets wolves, bears, alligators, dinosaurs and more. By pulling the handle of a gumball machine at the head of his bed, the boy can release items that help defuse scary situations. Although there's more than a hint of homage to the whimsical fantasy of Maurice Sendak, Cowley doesn't quite pull it off. The pallid verse is joyless and bland, and sometimes tortured ("Bright red popcorn can be seen / pouring from the gum machine"). The fantasy lacks cohesiveness and has no real sense of adventure. Odone's illustrations, also inspired by Sendak, are filled with endless details and surprises and are far superior to the text. But in the end they are too over-the-top, without focus or direction, thus making it difficult to for young viewers to sort it all out. A promising effort that falls short. (Picture book. 4-7)
- Highlights Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 9.10(w) x 12.20(h) x 0.40(d)
- Age Range:
- 5 - 7 Years
Meet the Author
Joy Cowley endeavors to bring "three gifts for the child: achievement, affirmation, and literature" in her early-reading stories. New Zealand, where she resides, awarded her its Commemorative Medal for her service to children's literature.
Jamison Odone graduated from the Art Institute of Boston. The Bedtime Train is the second book he has illustrated. The first one was Honey Badgers, which he wrote. He lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
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