The Last Train by Gordon Titcomb, paintings by Wendell Minor
Sometimes, a children's picture book tugs at your memories, as well as your heart. The beautiful book, The Last Train does that for me. Gordon Titcomb, a composer and musician wrote the words, and the paintings are by Wendell Minor. And, if you're anything like me, The Last Train will take you back home.
The book tells the story of a small Midwestern town where the freight trains came through. The story is told by the grandson of a railroad man, and the son of one, as he looks back on his childhood memories of the trains and the melancholy sounds. That town lost the trains when the last freight train went through, and the narrator has a box full of memories. It's a story of imagination and memory.
And, Minor's illustrations are gorgeous, capturing the trains, the Midwest, and the people who worked on those trains. But, don't take my word for it. If you love trains, take the time to watch the video trailer, hear the haunting music and song by Gordon Titcomb, and watch those illustrations come to life.
Does it bring back memories? There was nothing I enjoyed more as a child than lying in bed in the upstairs bedroom at my grandparents', listening to the sound of the train at night. And, now, when I return to my mother's in Ohio, I can hear the trains go through my hometown. I showed the book to a co-worker, who said her grandfather worked in the depot, and she and her brother used to be able to go out on the rails on the small car with the men when they repaired the tracks. Her face lit up when she talked about the depot. I loved trains so much that a friend's family gave me an electric train when I was in high school.
The Last Train isn't just a picture book to share with small boys who like trains. This is a trip through the past to share with anyone who remembers trains with longing, and love. It's a trip back to our childhood.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
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My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.