Sleep Train

London, Jonathan. Sleep Train. Illustrated by Lauren Eldridge. New York: Viking, 2018.

Image result for sleep train by london

In Sleep Train Jonathan London tells the story of the cars on a train. From the illustration on the copyright page, you can assume that the boy is imagining himself riding on the train. He is reading the book as he falls asleep. The pages of the book explore the ten cars in the train (other than the engine and the caboose). The book ends with the boy falling asleep as he counts the cars on the train. The train described in the book is somewhat unique in that it has both freight cars and passenger cars. Most US trains today are either freight or passenger but not both. Sleep Train is probably a good bedtime book for pre-schoolers

The illustrations in this book are very creative. Illustrator Lauren Eldridge deserves consideration for the Caldecott for the work she put into creating the scenes. The copyright describes her process but I will share a little of it here – I know it took a lot of time to create these illustrations. Using cardboard, paper, plaster cloth and acrylic paint, Lauren Eldridge create each train car shown in this book. The copyright page claims that the train would actually run if placed on a real track.  She used polymer clay, wire, wood, and acrylic eyeballs to create the main character. The environment of each illustration was created with household items. Eldridge made models of each scene and took digital photographs which were manipulated to achieve the desired illustration for each page.  I can’t wait to share this book with my students next fall for our annual Mock Caldecott  presentations. Teachers of older students could use this book as an art lesson and encourage students to gather materials to make their own picture book illustrations.

I want to thank Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House for the copy of Sleep Train in exchange for this review.


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