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The Goodnight Train is a charming bedtime book that we have been reading to our 13-month-old son quite often since he got it for his first birthday. 

It tells the simple story of a train setting off from its station with some children in tow, who appear ready for bed, but not quite ready to sleep yet. It starts off slowly creeping up a hill like a roller coaster, and then whooshes right down, past several interesting sights, before eventually slowing down again and bringing the children safely back to the station, snug in their beds, and ready to sleep.

The story is written in rhyme, which is particularly fitting for a book about a train, because it sets a very believable rhythm, especially when accompanied by the various "train sounds" that the reader is encouraged to make. I always find myself reading the fast parts quickly and with a lot of rhythm, and then slowing down and stretching things out as it gets toward the end, which I think is due to some well-crafted poetry and attention to detail.

Speaking of details, the illustrations are quite charming as well. It seems that each time I read it, I notice some new little part of the picture that I hadn't seen before -- be it the mermaid applying her night cream in the river under the bridge, or the porter sitting on the last car holding a sign that says "on break," or the squirrel in his tree opening up the fridge to find a midnight snack. 

These humorous bits add different layers to the story, and make it about more than just a train. Though the train and children are well illustrated too, and will certainly help the reader to experience the fun of being a child whose bed has become a train car on a wild pre-bed ride. 

Scrounged From:

Format: Board book
Author: June Sobel
Illustrator: Laura Huliska-Beith
Pages: 28
Content Advisory: None

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