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Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 13 years, 1 month ago

28 February 2011 Richie's Picks: THE RAIN TRAIN by Elana de Roo and Brian Lovelock, ill., Candlewick, March 2011, 32p., ISBN: 978-0-7636-5313-2


"Train whistle blowing, makes a sleepy noise
Underneath their blankets go all the girls and boys
Heading for the station out all along the bay
All bound for Morningtown, many miles away."
-- Malvina Reynolds, "Morningtown Ride," (1957)

"When the rain fingers drum out a dance on the pane,

When the windows are foggy enough for my name,


"A pitter-pat-pat, a pitter-pat-pat,

A pittery-pittery-pittery-pat."

I love being nestled under the covers in our attic bedroom, listening to the rain arriving in the middle of the night. Through the sloped ceiling, just a few feet above my head, I can hear the first few drops of rain tap on the roof, and then a few more. Gradually it builds into a steady staccato, and then into gusts and torrents, and I pull the covers tighter against my chin and smile.


"Glide from the platform



"Slow through the station --

Ca-shish, ca-shish."

Growing up, I'd read stories about characters living under the eves in small, magical upstairs rooms. Unfortunately, the suburban houses in which I grew up did not have any attic rooms with a touch of magic and mystery. Instead, the attic was merely a dark storage space into which you shoved Christmas ornaments, snowsuits, and storm windows to get them out of the way until the next winter.

These days I know better.


"The ting of the rain --



"The ding of the crossings --



I loved reading on New Zealand author Elena de Roo's website how, in writing THE RAIN TRAIN, she sought to combine the childhood memories of overnight train rides to visit grandparents with memories of falling asleep to the sound of rain on the roof.

Between Brian Lovelock's beautiful endpapers at the front of the book (a night-time scene with the train, sheep standing still in a pasture, hedgerows, and the moon depicting the conclusion of one day) and the endpapers at the conclusion of the book (the identical scene -- including the sheep each still in the same spots -- with the newly-risen sun depicting the arrival of the next morning), THE RAIN TRAIN is a sound- and rhythm-filed dream-like tale reminiscent of the old Malvina Reynolds song. Young children under umbrellas stream from houses about town and board the rain train. Operated by young conductors, the passengers settle in for tea before turning in and riding the train into the next morning.


"The wail of the wind, the sway of the train,

The strum of the wheels to the beat of the rain --


"A pitter-pat-pat, a pitter-pat-pat,

A pittery-pittery-pittery-pat."

This is the sort of story of which dreams are made.


Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com
Moderator http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_school_lit/
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FTC NOTICE: Richie receives free books from lots of publishers who hope he will Pick their books. You can figure that any review was written after reading and dog-earring a free copy received. Richie retains these review copies for his rereading pleasure and for use in his booktalks at schools and libraries.


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