Sobel, June. The Goodnight Train. Illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith. New York: Scholastic Inc.,c2006.
This story involves an unnamed little boy who goes on a metaphoric train ride. It tells a tale of his journey to sleep. The story itself is very playful with a rhyme. Occasionally there is an add on to the text that gives the reader a chance to keep the listeners attention. For example: “Roll the corner, rock the curve. Blankets bounce with every swerve. Rock-a Rock-a Rock-a Rock-a – Shhhhhhh! Shhhhhhhhhhh!” That addition at the end is sure to bring smiles on. Every page is completely illustrated and has no white space around the text or on the page. The illustrations were done with acrylic paints, fabric and paper collage. This combination really gives a lot of texture to the illustrations. The illustrators use of precision and perfection really bring the playfulness out and adds a bit more to the story than the text do. Although the illustrations are not realistic, they are proportionate to what could be real. Her amazing usage of curves and line really give the illustrations life and in some cases a 3-d look and you can tell that distance is used. It isn’t just flat, it has dimension. Every page with the acceptation of the first and last page are double page spreads, meaning the picture is continuous on both the left and right pages. The text is placed on either side and is put in a space that is flat and not busy. The colors used for the text do not clash with the background color, which makes the text very easy to read. The font selected also adds to the playful tone of the story and is also easy to read. This could help with cognitive development just from all the observations children will be making. Overall, it really is a wonderful little story filled with interesting and lively illustrations.
As a parent I would like to give my opinion on the story at the end as well, so do look towards the bottom of the post for my personal impressions. When I first started reading the story I immediately could tell that this was a book for a younger child maybe 3-5 years old. However, I think the illustrations would keep the interests of a child a little over this age range simply because of the usage of colors and the overall fun theme that is used. I think that a parent or teacher could possibly do some kind of art work with the story. They could create their own Goodnight train and draw a picture of themselves on it.