10.31.2013

How to Train a Train, written by Jason Cater Eaton and illustrated by John Rocco


How to Train a Train is written by Jason Carter Eaton and illustrated by John Rocco, author and illustrator of the fantastic Caldecott Silver Medal winning Blackout and illustrator of The Flint Heart : A Fairy Story, a retelling of Eden Phillpotts's 1910 fairy tale by John and Katherine Paterson. Oh yeah, and Rocco has created the cover art for all of Rick Riordan's series.



How to Train a Train is part field guide, part pet care manual that very cleverly tells kids how to best locate a pet train ("Different trains live in different places,") how to get a train's attention (smoke signals) and how to get it to follow you home by making the call of the wild train (CHUGGA-CHUGGA-CHUGGA-CHUGGA!). Then, once you get your train home, you'll want to give it a name. This is my favorite spread in the book and I wish I could share it with you here, but I can tell you that there is a great illustration of a train with fairy wings. There are tips on how to help your train fall off to sleep, how to play with it and, of course, how to train your train.


The anthropomorphized trains seem to have a mix of dog and horse characteristics. Being a wild train, a sign of trust comes when you get to ride your pet train. The narrator cautions taking it slowly and not trying to jump right into the engineer's car. Start at the caboose! Teach your train manners, enjoy it when you bump into other kids with their pets - trucks, planes and even submarines - another great 2 page spread I wish I could share.



The book closes with the question, "How will you know if your train is happy?" The final image, above, answers that question wonderfully.

Eaton's text is charming and well adapted to this concept, with Rocco's illustrations making How to Train a Train  a truly special book. For some reason, there are so few train picture books for kids. Even of there were a slew of them,  How to Train a Train would take a place at the top of the list. If you do have little train lovers at home, don't miss the amazing books of author and illustrator, and former story editor for Disney during the Peter Pan / Alice in Wonderland / 101 Dalmations era, Bill Peet.

And, if your kids enjoyed How to Train a Train, don't miss this fantastic book written by Elise Broach and illustrated by David Small, When Dinosaurs Came with Everything</a>.

Source: Review Copy




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