Even in this day and age, preschoolers love trains! A train-themed storytime will always be popular, and not just with boys. Here in the Bay Area, many children have been on a BART train, or at least seen a train while driving with a parent. Be sure to sing “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” and “Down by the Station,”along with your usual opening and closing songs. For a craft, there are several you can try. I like to make trains out of shapes – a rectangle for the main portion, a square for a window, a triangle for the cowcatcher, circles for wheels, etc. You can also make a train whistle, following the instructions at Everything Preschool.
Crews, Donald. FREIGHT TRAIN. A very simple story that teaches the concept of colors is brought to life in this Caldecott Honor book.
Aylesworth, Jim. COUNTRY CROSSING. A rhythmic text and the nighttime setting make this a unique participatory book for storytime.
Merriam, Eve. TRAIN LEAVES THE STATION. A rhyming text and brightly colored illustrations make for a great readaloud.
Voake, Charlotte. HERE COMES THE TRAIN. Dad and two kids watch a train from the top of an overpass.
Neitzel, Shirley. I’M TAKING A TRIP ON A TRAIN. Rebus pictures and a cumulative text make this a storytime winner.
Piper, Wally. THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD. A classic that will have the audience repeating ,”I think I can, I think I can ,”
Sturges, Philemon. I LOVE TRAINS. A little boy describes the assets of a train, in rhyming text and cartoon illustrations that will appeal to toddlers.
Brown, Margaret Wise. TWO LITTLE TRAINS. A new streamlined train and an old-fashioned toy train take similar trips.
Rockwell, Anne. TRAINS. With a format seen in all of Rockwell’s easy nonfiction books, here the text describes what a train is and why trains are imprtant.
Various. DOWN BY THE STATION. This song has been turned into several picture books, including one by Will Hillenbrand that is set in a zoo.
Various. I’VE BEEN WORKING ON THE RAILROAD. The popular song has been adapted into several picture book versions.
Ziefert, Harriet. TRAIN SONG. A rhyming story of a boy with a toy train watching a real train go by.
Lewis, Kevin. CHUGGA CHUGGA CHOO CHOO. Listeners will call out the train sounds in this simple rhyming story set on a toy train in a child’s bedroom.
Sobel, June. THE GOODNIGHT TRAIN. Great for a nighttime storytime, this rhyming tale has plenty of train sounds for the listeners to repeat, along with a description of customary ,”going to bed,” routines.
Also see the previous Train storytime ideas page from November 2001.
Penny Peck,San Leandro Public Library July, 2010