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Friday, December 20, 2013

How To Train a Train, written by Jason Carter Eaton and illustrated by John Rocco. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2013. $19.00 ages 3 and up

"It's only natural that you'll
want to take home all the trains,
but don't just grab the first one
you see.
Take your time and choose the
one that's right for you.
Got one? Time to make your
move: send a puff of smoke
high into the air.
You've got the train's attention!"

We have seen a number of books about trains this publishing season, and every single one I have read is worthy of your attention. To add to the delight of the holiday hijinks, a train might be just the right kind of pet for your family!

Did you know that you can train a train? I did not. So, Jason Carter Eaton sets out to show me (and his readers) just exactly what to do to get that train to do what you want it to do! In this 'handy guidebook' he presents every conceivable means for choosing, tracking and training one. If you have never considered such a thing, you may find yourself changing your mind.

It depends on the type of train you want, of course. Once that absolutely essential question is considered, you have to catch one! There are many ways...some tried and true, some not so. But, you have to start early and be very, very patient. When you know it is the right one (and you will know!), lead it home.

There will be no way to call your pet train, unless you give it a name. Once you have spent some time together, you are sure to find a name that suits its personality...some suggested ones are Little Miss Muffinhead, Milo, Smokey or even Pushkin. You're sure to find the perfect name after careful thought.

Remember...change is difficult for anyone. Be sure your train has the time and the space to adjust to life with you and your family. Then, just imagine the things that you will be able to do together! The choices are limitless...

It takes a lot of training. It is possible. So, give it a try!

If that doesn't yet entice you into checking for this new book at your local bookstore or library, let me tell you a bit about John Rocco's artwork. You know I love it. This just ups the love! His digitally colored graphite illustrations add wonder to the whole idea. His trains are created to scale; they maintain their immensity while also showing winning expressions that keep our focus on their propensity to meet the many guidelines that make them good pets.  The pages are filled with images that are sure to have those who love trains dreaming of owning one.

The author had something to say about John Rocco's role in the evolution of this appealing new book:

"Then John Rocco got involved. And the rest is beautifully-drawn history. We were all huge fans of John’s work already, so to see his vision of my words was not only an honor but a real thrill. He also made it easy for me to slip my kids into the book...That man knows how to bring anything to life in the warmest and most striking way possible. His is exactly the right style for this story—whimsically realistic and larger-than-life—"


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