Clarion/Harper Collins (July 12, 2022)
Trick or Treat! Trick or Treat! Whoooo! Whoooo!
It’s Halloween night and the Goodnight Train is set to choo choo BOO! See costumed sheep, find glowing jack-o-lanterns, and fill the boxcar with candy freight before rolling into the station for bedtime. Surprises await through seek-and-find holes in every durable page of this board book with a shaped cover.
A treat for train fans that’s sure to lull sugar-filled revelers into sweet dreams.
The Goodnight Train is back for a not-so-scary fourth installment.
The nighttime locomotive travels through an autumnal landscape that’s bursting with Halloween tropes. As in the previous stories, bed-shaped cars are hooked up for a train ride; here, three diverse children are dressed in their Halloween finest as a skeleton, a princess, and a bee. Fans of the series will find the usual perks of a solid rhyme scheme, additional words and sounds peppering the illustrations, and pages of yawning creatures signaling that it’s time for bed. Those unfamiliar with the series will also find the book amusing, but readers who really love Halloween—or spooky things like bats, ghosts, and black cats—will enjoy it the most. As with the other installments in this series, educators and librarians will find this useful for seasonal book displays and story times but will probably keep it out year-round because it checks many of the boxes that signal a solid addition to any board-book library. Die-cut circles of various sizes are sprinkled across the double-page spreads, giving caregivers a chance to test young readers’ predictive skills while providing small hints at what’s to come.
All aboard for a spooktacularly sleepy ride! (Board book. 2-5)
School Library Journal
Pre-school children and friendly animals have a fun adventure riding a train in sleeper bed cars on Halloween night. The story opens with a pig on the caboose with a megaphone. “It’s Halloween! Full moon’s aglow. The Goodnight Train is set to go.” There is also a bat bringing a blanket to a child dressed as a bumblebee. By the smiles on their faces, both human and Halloween creatures, it is abundantly clear that it’s a good time for all on this trip. The train travels through a forest with smiling ghosts and spiders, makes its way through a candy cane storm with a smiling mummy, and has other adventures. Words and art work well together and evoke a sense of excitement about this holiday. In a non-scary way, children learn about ghosts, bats, witches, and other Halloween traditions. There is also the right amount of text to capture young children’s attention, without providing too much information for the audience. This perfect bedtime title closes by saying, “Little sleepers start to yawn. The orange moon is almost gone. Halloween’s more fun than fright. Now it’s time to say good night.” This creative book will be popular with parents and caregivers who want to introduce the holiday to younger children. VERDICT – Recommended for libraries as a fresh addition to holiday book collections. -Robin Sofgea