Train! by Judi Abbot landed into our laps at the right place at the right time. Ankle biter 1 is in constant forward motion and naturally he likes things that reflect such pace. He loves his digger (although his first love was front end loader until the loader was superglued due to a misfortunate dismount off the slide. He still adores it but it’s the first of the vehicles to be shared with ankle biter 2). and his trains. Both play the antagonist and protagonist in this story. For you see this story is about Little Elephant who eats, drinks, breathes trains. His parents take him on a train journey when he meets other young animals who are as equally enamoured with their mobility treasures. Train! Plane! Digger! Car! A rumble in the tunnel has each animal in a toy kerfuffle where slowly but surely, they learn to respect each other and each other’s toys.
The message of sharing and friendship flew over Ankle biter 1’s head. Honestly, I didn’t touch on it during the story either. I reckon this could be a good picture book to introduce concepts of sharing.The boldness of colours and simplicity of the animals make it a charming read. I, however, focused on the things that happen whilst travelling on public transport. I adore books that feature little ones out and about on forms of transport alternative to the car. I think it’s important that children grow up with a mobility experience untethered to the car.
He liked the fact that there were ‘other kids’ on the train playing. For awhile, he would pack away digger and dump truck (See? sorry front end loader) into the pram. I think secretly in the hopes that should he find another kindred spirit on the bus, they’d be playmates. He finds those kindred spirits in the playground or park or pub. We have yet to find them on the bus. It’s been ages since he’s packed away his toys in the pram. But that’s okay. He pays attention to what’s passing by outside the window. He analyses the billboards. Most of all, he watches people and if they’re friendly, he’ll play hide and seek. No trains, planes, car, diggers or tunnel required.
(Photo by Vivian Romero from the book Train!, Judi Abbot)