Illustrated by the author
Published by Walker Books, London, 2020
Trains. They are big and noisy. They come and go. They take us to new places and return us home again. Boom gates announce their arrival and the ding-dong signals tell everyone to keep clear of the tracks. Trains even make a sound that is unique to them as they ride the tracks, chuff, chuff, chuffing along. No wonder trains are fascinating for little ones.
Daisy Hirst has written a wonderfully simple yet comprehensive story about Small Dog and his love of trains. Big text, few words, clean images on a white background all combine to make this a very accessible story for pre-schoolers.
In the story, we see Small dog playing with his own train set, setting up some of his toy animals as passengers as they ride the tracks. Small Dog even imagines himself as a conductor of his own train, made with cardboard boxes. Books teach him more about trains, there are so many different types: freight trains, bullet trains and steam trains.
But best of all is going to the station and riding the train with Mum. Buying the tickets, finding the platform, taking a seat by the window and watching the scenery fly past and arriving finally to see Grandma waiting on the platform.
This a warm, feel good story that encapsulates the wonder of trains with the joy of discovery and the security of family. I can highly recommend it for children 2 -4 years and below there are more suggestions about some of my favourite picture books which feature trains. All aboard!