Night train wakens to the dusk,
Journey starting, day departing–
The romance of the steam train–the rhythm of the rails, the chug and the clatter, the screech of the brakes and the lonesome whistle–all are the subject of Annie Cronin Romano’s book, Night Train: A Journey from Dusk to Dawn (Page Street Kids, 2019), on the continuing mysterious appeal of the midnight special, its headlight piercing the dark and its horn blowing for the crossing as it moves through the dark, mostly sleeping world.
Its drivers driving, its smokestack billowing, the night train crosses the trestles over the rivers, pushes through tunnels underground, blows by small stations, dark and deserted, steams by small towns sleeping, snug and safe.
Boxcars rattle, spooking cattle.
steady crawling, never-stalling, night train.
As it passes through dark wheat fields, cows sleeping on their hooves, or horses racing the train in their fields, perhaps those people lying awake in the wee hours find reassurance that the night train is on duty, getting the goods to people who will be waking soon, moving sleepy people in the passenger cars to their destinations, a trusty servant who doesn’t mind working the night shift.
Author Annie Cronin Romano captures that romance of the legendary midnight train in her forthcoming book with lyrical blank verse that conveys the sound and presence of that train as it makes its way, left to right, through the dark world and through her picture book until the break of dawn ends its run, backed up by Ileana Soon’s blue-black illustrations of the train and the landscapes it traverses, until it comes to rest, its work done for the day.
Journey finished, dark diminished–
Says Kirkus Reviews, “Romano’s rhythmic poem is filled with repeated sounds, internal rhymes, and evocative imagery…Soothing words and steady rhythm make a solid bedtime story for young listeners…”
For younger sleepyheads, pair this one with Sherry Duskey Rinker’s top-selling Steam Train, Dream Train (review here), or for somewhat older bed-goers, share Andrea Rosenbaum’s exceptional Trains Don’t Sleep (review here).