I Like Trains, illustrated and written by Daisy Hirst, published by Candlewick, ISBN: 978-1536212761.
I cannot wait to start doing in-person storytimes again. Due to the pandemic, my last preschool storytime was in early March 2020. For years, I used to meet weekly with a fairly large crowd of cool kids and their parents/caregivers. We would have fun with goofy puppet plays, silly songs, and interactive books. Yes, I have done some virtual programs and those have been enjoyable (although learning to play to a camera has made me feel a bit, oh, disoriented).
For in-person live storytimes, I would choose books possessing large pictures that show well to a big group and engaging stories that will keep them hooked. When I resume them (someday soon I hope?), I will definitely spotlight several 2020 and 2021 books that will fit right in with my storytime set list. Books like Daisy Hirst’s cheerful and delightful I Like Trains.
I Like Trains has everything I’m looking for in a preschool storytime book: bold illustrations, a large font that allows me to point at each word as I read them out loud, opportunities to invite audience participation (the “chugga chugga” “all aboard” prompts), and an engaging easy-to-follow story. Well, plus it has trains. And dogs who love trains. And dogs who ride trains and enthusiastically describe their journey to a special place. It’s a book that invites the storyteller to ask questions: do you like trains? do you read books about trains too? have you ever been in a train station? ooh, what do you see through the train window?
Hirst’s expert use of white space allows the screenprinted illustrations to pop off the page. Her simple and direct language bubbles with enthusiasm for its topic. It’s a slice of life celebration of a topic children adore. Its bouncy charms sneak up on you. It’s one of the books where not much seems to happen and everything seems to happen. A seemingly simple train journey taps into something universal: feelings of joy and intergenerational connection. I Like Trains will have storytime audiences cheering “encore, encore, more, more.”