Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Last Train

The Last Train

Gordon Titcomb
Illustrator:   Wendell Minor 
Picture Book
Ages 6 and up
Roaring Brook Press, 2010   ISBN: 978-1596431645

In the center of a young boy’s town, there is an old train station. These days the roof has holes in it and the windows are boarded up, but not long ago this train station was witness to the arrival and departure of all kinds of trains. It saw the City of New Orleans, the Wabash Cannonball, and the Midnight Flyer fly past.

The boy’s grandfather was a railroad man who “drove the trains around,” and his father sold tickets “till they closed the station down.” The boy has an old cigar box that is full of “memories” of the glory days of the railroad. There is a watch that his father was given after he had worked on the railroad for twenty years. There is a union dues card, a ticket punch, photos, a stamp, and other bits and pieces that the boy has collected and carefully saved. As he looks at his treasures, the boy can almost hear the echo of a train whistle.

The rhyming and melodic text of this story is based on a song that was written by Gordon Titcomb, a composer and a musician. His words and Wendell Minor’s rich and atmospheric paintings beautifully capture the essence of a time when trains were an essential part of people’s lives.

Train lovers of all ages are sure to want to add this book to their collection.