The Dream Train: Poems for Bedtime

Candlewick. Mar. 2023. 88p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781536228342.
PreS-Gr 3–This collection of 30 one- or two-page poems moves from night’s arrival to dreamtime. As twilight deepens, children reunite with family members amid cozy routines. They fall asleep to a grandpa’s guitar, the warmth of a grandma’s hand-stitched blanket, and the soft music of story time. Though the bouncy squirrels “think sleeping is totally dumb,” restless activities give way to sleepy contentment and dreams. With soothing repetition and alliteration, most poems make excellent read-alouds; for example, “Hush-a-bye Time” reads: “Because it’s tucked-in-tight time/ say-good-night time./ All the day has passed.” Exuberant “Cave Bear’s Snore” is fun to share, and pet lovers will relish “The Baker Dog.” The titular dream train emerges from the pages of an open book and reappears throughout. Colorful mixed-media illustrations highlight the contrast between daytime’s busy activities and nighttime stillness. Readers will linger over the lively details, especially the cross-section of a home that accompanies “The Middle of the Night.” The folksy scenes of a mother and her young children enjoying the seasons in “Four Moons” also evoke wonder.
VERDICT With an enticing mix of playful whimsy and quiet moments, this well-crafted collection of accessible verse and lovely illustrations should appeal to a wide audience.

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