Friday, January 28, 2011

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.

Gordon Titcomb's website is

Wendell Minor's website is

The Last Train by Gordon Titcomb, paintings by Wendell Minor.  Roaring Brook Press, ©2010. ISBN 9781596431645 (hardcover), 32p.

FTC Full Disclosure - Library book


Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Oh, this looks amazing. I'll definitely find the book. I have a real love of trains--love hearing them, love the train culture. Love "I've Been Working on the Railroad" and "City of New Orleans." Thanks for sharing the book. :)

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Elizabeth. It is an amazing book. Like you, I love those songs, and the culture.

And, just wanted to let you know we ordered a number of your books today for the entire system.

Bev Stephans said...

My budget is going to squeak as I can think of 3 people that would be interested in this book (all of them are adults). I too love trains and will probably end up with a copy for myself.

Lesa said...

Sorry about that, Bev, but it's such a beautiful book! And, you're right. A number of adults would enjoy this. Did you watch the video? I loved that, too.

Reading said...

I love trains. When we were kids we had friends whose grandparents had an old steam locomotive and rail car on their farm, we spent hours playing on them. My kindergarten teacher took us on the train from Macon to Atlanta to go to the zoo for our graduation, I have never forgotten that trip. What a way to travel.

Lesa said...

Oh, that would have been so much fun playing in a locomotive and rail car! And, I can believe you never forgot that trip on the train. Thanks for telling us those stories.

Kris said...

This sounds like the perfect book for my nephews, in fact, I already emailed the link to your review to my Mom and suggested she check it out. haha

Lesa said...

Love that, Kris! Thanks for passing on the review. It's a beautiful book. I hope your nephews enjoy it. I predict it will be in their future!