How many generations of children have been fascinated with trains? Children love the image of powerful steam engines pumping out smoke and chugging down the rails. Whether it’s toy trains, electric trains, or model train sets, children are captivated with the fun of laying tracks and pulling boxcars.
The Caldecott Honor book Freight Train, a classic by Donald Crews, is beloved by children. Each page shows a different part
of the freight train from the Red caboose at the back, to the Blue gondola car and the Black tender. The vocabulary is rich and the colors stunning.
“Going through tunnels. Crossing trestles. Moving in darkness,” this locomotive takes a smoky journey before disappearing from the last page. Crews’ pictures capture the feel and the excitement of a train moving in a blur of color. Little ones will study the details intently, looking for the parts of a train as it speeds across the pages.
Freight Train is a wonderful story for parent and child. Each page offers something different to talk about. From toddler to preschooler, it’s a perfect read-aloud for storytime and belongs on your little one’s bookshelf.
Playful Early Learning:
- Look on the cover and identify the train cars and the smoke.
- Name the cars and colors from left to right on the pages.
- Look for train parts: the wheels, the ladder, the coal, and the engine
- Ask your child how the pictures show the train is moving.
- Use the words through, by, and crossing to describe where the train travels.
- On the last page, ask your child, “Where will the freight train go next?”