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Children’s book helps the sandman do his job

Every day, from morning unil night, you chug-chug-chug along.

Yep, you’re a busy kid with lots of ideas. You help around the house, ride your bike, play with friends, read books, dig in the dirt, throw a ball, lay in the grass. There’s always something down the track to do — until you run out of steam.

That’s when it’s time for a story, and for bed. It’s time to take a trip on the “Steam Train, Dream Train” by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld.

It’s dark, almost bedtime, and if you’re quiet and listen, you can hear a train’s clicketyclack coming down the track. A whistle blows, the smokestack puffs, the bell on top rings out, and the whole train stops.

The train’s driver signals the crew to start. Everyone has a job to do, and they have to do it quick. Everything must be loaded before it gets too late, so the crew slides the boxcar doors open and they get to work.

Balls and hoops are tucked away. Bouncy things, building blocks, all kinds of toys and bikes are put inside the boxcar. Things are poured in, thrown in, gushed in, and carried in carefully. The crew pounces and bounces and flounces everything to exactly where it’s supposed to be. There’s plenty of room for all the supplies!

Of course, a crew has to eat, so food gets loaded, too – up the ramp and piled high. The reefer car is freezing cold and perfect for ice cream. As soon as that treat is loaded full, it’s time for a midnight snack.

There’s sand on the train, and six race cars with rainbow colors. Dinosaurs ride on the big flat cars, and you can imagine what kind of snacks they need to be happy. A crane brings their dinner and lifts it straight up.

There are other things on the flatcars, too: flat beds, perfect for a crew that’s tired from loading supplies all night. The beds are soft, just like yours. They have pillows, just like yours. The crew has had a busy day, just like you’ve had. And just like you, they’re ready for another day tomorrow…

Is bedtime a big battle at your house? Does your wee one fight that slippery slope to sleep? Then perhaps “Steam Train, Dream Train” is a book you need to have on your child’s shelf.

Starting with a cute rhyme and lots of surprising activity, authors Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld gently, eventually, bring their story to a slow and drowsy end that’s perfect for the close of any day. The story itself is calming, and the illustrations — done in twilight colors — help set a bedtime tone. Those drawings, in fact, will also appeal to any kid who prefers to browse a sleepytime story in full daylight.

If your child spends each evening trying to derail plans for bedtime, then help his little engine wind down with this book. Offer to read “Steam Train, Dream Train” tonight and he’ll be all aboard.

“Steam Train, Dream Train” by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld c.2013, Chronicle Books $16.99 / $18.99 Canada 40 pages

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