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The Little Engine That Could: Penguin Random House. All Aboard the Airport Train: Abrams. On the Train: Usborne, Ltd. Shortcut and Two Little Trains: HarperCollins. All Aboard the Moonlight Train: Penguin Random House. Clackety Track: Candlewick.

All Aboard! Great Railroad Reads

Do you have a train-loving kiddo in the house? Stock your home library with these picture books about trains.

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“Chooch” was one of my son’s first words. It was his version of the sound a train makes. His favorite bedtime song began: “They’re two, they’re four, they’re six, they’re eight,” and if you have a little train lover at your house, you know the rest. There’s no denying young kids’ fascination with trains, and there’s no shortage of classic and new train books to help you enjoy the ride.

The Little Engine That Could: 90th Anniversary Edition

by Watty Piper; illustrated by Dan Santat (Penguin Young Readers, April 7, 2020)

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the beloved classic, which has been reimagined by a Caldecott Award-winning artist. The book includes a foreword written by singer/songwriter Dolly Parton. “On many occasions, when my dream seemed far away, my Mama would tell me the story of the Little Engine to comfort and encourage me,” she writes. “While I listened to her, I would close my eyes and think of myself as the Little Engine and just start saying over and over again, ‘I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.’ It gave me strength, it gave me hope, and it gave me the courage to keep chasing my dreams.”

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All Aboard! The Airport Train

by Nichole Mara; illustrated by Andrew Kolb (Abrams Appleseed, 2019)

This accordion-style board book folds out car by car, taking kids on a tour of an airport train and terminal. There are flaps to lift on every page, and readers are asked to help a girl find a missing ticket as they are introduced to all the passengers on board.

On the Train

by Carron Brown and Bee Johnson (Kane Miller, 2015)

This book in the publisher’s Shine-A-Light series includes hidden pictures beneath dark pages, revealed only when someone shines a flashlight on the pages, or holds them up to a light source. It’s an interactive book that’s full of surprises as kids peek into the boxcars of a freight train, the cabin of a passenger train, and other places.

Shortcut

by Donald Crews (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, 1992)

Readers follow a group of children who decide to take a shortcut home along the railroad tracks. When a train comes, they have to move fast, and end up on an adventure.

Two Little Trains

by Margaret Wise Brown; pictures by Greg Pizzoli (HarperCollins, 2020)

Margaret Wise Brown’s text, originally published in 1949, is paired with updated illustrations by a Geisel Award-winning artist. The simple story with sparse text follows two different trains on the same journey west, through a wide variety of landscapes and weather conditions, until, as the story goes, “they had come to the edge of the west.”

All Aboard the Moonlight Train

by Kristyn Crow; illustrated by Annie Won (Doubleday Books for Young Readers, 2020)

Avid readers of The Polar Express and Steam Train, Dream Train will enjoy this whimsical new bedtime story filled with colorful animals. There’s a clickety-clack rhythm throughout the story, as kids meet a toucan ticket-taker, an elephant engineer, and other animals.

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Clackety Track: Poems About Trains

by Skila Brown and Jamey Christoph (Candlewick, 2019)

A favorite of a Denver Public Library children’s librarian, Clackety Track features trains of all shapes and sizes, including a bullet train, sleeper train, and an underground train. Vintage-style illustrations are paired with poems: Rows of grooves, cables, and bars. / Graffiti rockin’ out the cars. / A badge of rust. A proud oil stain. / There’s nothin’ plain about a train.


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