The Dream Train: Poems for Bedtime

by Sean Taylor (Author) Anuska Allepuz (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

A dreamy treasure trove of thirty bedtime poems to snuggle over together--and return to night after night.

When night arrives and the birds swoop home to nest, it's time to have a bath, put on pajamas, brush teeth, and settle in for sleep.

This soothing collection of Sean Taylor's original verse and rhyme for the very young explores the ritual of bedtime with warmth, tenderness, and gentle humor. Thirty poems in many styles, from shape poems to free verse to ballad poems, are divided into three sections. From sleepy bats to dreaming ducks, from a favorite blanket to the chugga! chugga! of a dream train coming down the tracks, these imaginative variations on a timeless theme--brought to life in soft, shimmering illustrations--resonate with pure emotion, inviting sleepyheads of every stripe to indulge in sweet dreams.

Select format:

Find books about:

Kirkus Reviews

Taylor makes effective use of rhyme, rhythm, and repetition to weigh down young eyelids.


A dreamy bedtime-poetry collection well suited for reading aloud.

Horn Book Magazine

Most young listeners will likely choose favorites to hear repeatedly.

School Library Journal

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.--Marilyn Taniguchi

Copyright 2023 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Sean Taylor
Sean Taylor has written more than forty books for young readers. These include picture books such as Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise and I Want to Be in a Scary Story, both illustrated by Jean Jullien; Where the Bugaboo Lives, illustrated by Neal Layton; The World Champion of Staying Awake, illustrated by Jimmy Liao; A Brave Bear, illustrated by Emily Hughes; and Don't Call Me Choochie Pooh!, illustrated by Kate Hindley. He lives in Bristol, England.

Anuska Allepuz is the author-illustrator of Little Green Donkey and has illustrated several acclaimed picture books, including What Will You Dream of Tonight? by Frances Stickley and A Bear Is a Bear (except when he's not) by Karl Newson. She lives in Cambridge, England.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Candlewick Press (MA)
Publication date
March 20, 2023
BISAC categories
JUV010000 - Juvenile Fiction | Bedtime & Dreams
JUV041050 - Juvenile Fiction | Transportation | Railroads & Trains
JUV070000 - Juvenile Fiction | Poetry (see also Stories in Verse)
Library of Congress categories

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!