Monday, January 10, 2011

All Aboard! Train Books!

January is a tough month, even for a two-year-old. Disappointment was etched all over his face when he went to visit his grandparents and found that the model train that puffed and chuffed around their Christmas tree had vanished. The disappearance was even more devastating than the disappearance of presents and the tree.

To ease his anguish, I took Soren to the library for the first time since Annika was born in September. With the help of his adorable Mimi (my mom), we cleared the library out of some awesome train books. I also picked up a few lucky finds at our local used toy store.

We played with train toys, sang train songs (Thank you, John Denver!), and this Friday, I'm taking him to a local train depot turned into a train museum!  Here are the books we enjoyed most this week. If Soren didn't ask to read a book at least three times this week, I'm not posting it here. (FYI, I post a favorite book of the day every day on my twitter page, PreschoolReader.) I'm also fully aware that there are no Thomas books in this lineup. While I LOVE Thomas toys, I think the stories are a little too heavy on conflict for really little guys.

"I'm Taking a Trip on My Train" is a peek into the imagination of a little boy, the conductor of his toy train set. It's a fun (and breathtaking) rhyme that slowly replaces nouns with pictograms. Like many of these books, Soren likes to insert nouns like "tracks" and "oil car" while we read.

I know Soren loves a book when he brings it to me saying the title correctly: "We Go Trains, Mom!" We read this one multiple times a day, every day, all week. It's simple, easy to understand, and I'm pretty sure if I asked him to, Soren could recite the whole thing.

"I Drive a Freight Train" is the only non-fiction book in this week's list, but you'd never know. It has adorable illustrations, and Marcia, the train engineer, shares all kinds of facts easy for little boys to understand and left mommy with quite an education on trains. Did you know that even with emergency brakes, a train needs a mile to come to a complete stop?

Curious George is Soren's cryptonite: we have oodles of George stories, and we love all of them so much, we can't just read one.  "Curious George Takes a Train" is a story about the mischievous monkey getting into trouble at a train station, and as always, is super cute. (He's in trouble again? What is the man with the yellow hat thinking leaving him unattended AGAIN?!)

"Freight Train" is an easy read with brilliant, bright illustrations. It talks about colors and rail cars, it's a quickie, but Soren loves to just flip through the pages alone and stare at the train.

This was the winner of the week: "The Goodnight Train" got Soren in the mood to sleep every night this week. He loved looking through the pictures for fun little details, like the shapes the locomotive's smoke makes in the sky, or the bathtub car at the end of the train. This is the one library book I'd like to buy.

This was a lucky find at the used bookstore! A little girl and her mommy ride a bright red train through the country to see her Grandma. It made Soren think of his MeMaw, who lives in New York, who takes him on train rides.  (Who doesn't love like-new books for sixty cents?)

By the author of "Goodnight Moon", this book tells the side-by-side stories of a little toy train and a big locomotive. Its illustrations are stunning, the story is sweet, and leaves Soren ready for his last cuddles and kisses before bed (if there is such a thing as a "last" kiss...).

The week isn't over, but I'm so looking forward to our next trip to the library! I'm planning a week of books about gardening and plants, and can't wait to share our discoveries with you!

What is your favorite train book, game, song, craft? Feel free to post, comment and share here!

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