A feeling of warmth and an old-fashioned nursery aura abound.
Like this team's bestselling Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, this vehicular bedtime book revs up before winding down, and both text and art smoothly transition from stimulating to soothing. A train stops at the "Night Falls" station to pick up its animal crew, who energetically load the train: acrobatic monkeys carry monkey bars onto a boxcar, rabbits bounce aboard on pogo sticks, a polar bear fills a refrigerated car with giant ice cream sundaes, and leaping kangaroos toss balls into a hopper ("The crew hops to it, one and all--/ they get to work and have a ball!"). Rinker's verse assumes a gentler lilt as the weary animals are pictured tucked into bed--on flatbed cars, fittingly--and the train is seen "Puffing, chuffing out of sight.../ Steam train, dream train.../ chhhhhh... goodnight." Rendered in wax oil pastels, Lichtenheld's moonlit illustrations have a lovely luster and a rich texture reminiscent of chalk drawings, using various shades of blue to evoke a magical midnight setting. A go-to goodnight story for train- and animal-loving preschoolers. Ages 1-6. Agent: Amy Rennert, Amy Rennert Agency. (Apr.)Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
PreS-K--From out of the midnight darkness comes a mighty train heading to Night Falls station. With clouds of steam hissing from the smokestack and brakes squealing, it comes to a stop and the animal crew jumps out, ready to load up the cars with freight. A rambunctious bunch of monkeys fills the boxcar with toys while kangaroos toss balls into the open-topped hopper car. Purple elephants use their trunks to fill the tanker cars with different colored paints as a polar bear and penguin put giant ice-cream sundaes in the reefer car. After such a hard night's work, the crew beds down on the flatbed car, ready for the steam engine to fire up and take them to dreamland. The strength of this book is in the striking spreads in wax oil pastel. A vast night sky is filled with sparkly stars and large billowing clouds that frame the oncoming train traveling through a realistically silhouetted landscape, while the animal crew looks strangely toylike, as though made of plush and plastic. It is not until the final spread that this incongruous bunch, and this whole dream, is explained by a nighttime look at a young train lover's bedroom. The beginning and end of the book are filled with expressive and enjoyable railroad sounds, yet the rhyming text loses a bit of steam in the middle, describing but not always enhancing the activity depicted in the illustrations. Still, this is a book that will, like its predecessor, Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site (Chronicle, 2011), be embraced as a nighttime standard, particularly among train lovers everywhere.--Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public LibraryCopyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.