Steam Train, Dream Train Book Poster Image

Steam Train, Dream Train

Jolly animals load a train in this dream of a bedtime book.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Steam Train, Dream Train is a total fantasy, but it does show what a steam train looks and sounds like. Kids also learn train vocabulary as they see how cargo is loaded onto boxcars, flatbeds, "refer" (refrigerator) cars, the "autorack," and into gondolas, well cars, tankers, and the caboose -- all by a cheery animal crew!

Positive messages

Work can be fun when you do it with others. "The crew hops to it, one and all --/ they get to work and have a ball!"

Positive role models

The cheerful animal crew works quickly and efficiently and makes work look like fun. 

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Steam Train, Dream Train is another great bedtime book from the team that created Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site. It's a rollicking fantasy of a peppy night crew of animals loading a steam train -- monkeys, elephants, kangaroos, polar bears, and more -- that ends safely back in the in the bedroom of a dreaming boy whose toy train set's on the floor below him. A wonderful choice for train lovers, animal fans, and anyone with an upbeat sense of humor. 

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What's the story?

A steam train shoots across an empty landscape in the dark of night and stops at a station for loading by a peppy crew of animals: monkeys, rabbits, elephants, polar bears, dogs, kangaroos, turtles, a camel, and a penguin. They load on cargo and some animals, including a giraffe, brontosaurus and T-Rex! The twist at the end is it appears this was all a dream by a boy pictured sleeping in bed with his toy train set on the floor below him.

Is it any good?


This delightful book for the younger set has the look and feel of a classic. It's fun to see the cheerful animals busily doing their job in the inky blue night. The action gets increasingly wacky, as elephants squirt different-colored liquids into takers and live dinosaurs become part of the cargo. It's a fun fantasy that ends safely back in the bedroom of a sleeping (and presumably dreaming) boy, whose train set rests on the floor below him. A wonderful choice of bedtime reading for train lovers, animal fans, and anyone with an upbeat sense of humor. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why stories about trains are so popular with kids. Why do you think that is? What are some of your favoirte train books, movies or TV shows? 

  • Have you ever had a dream as crazy as the one in this book? Do you remember your dreams? 

  • What are some of your favoirte bedtime books? What do you like about reading right before you go to sleep? 

Book details

Authors:Sherri Duskey Rinker, Tom Lichtenheld
Illustrator:Tom Lichtenheld
Genre:Picture Book
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Trains, Wild animals
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Chronicle Books
Publication date:April 16, 2013
Number of pages:40
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 6
Available on:Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

This review of Steam Train, Dream Train was written by

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