Teddy took the train by Nicki Greenberg

cover image

Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781760112134
(Age: 3-5) Recommended. Teddy bears. Poetry. Lost and found. Trains. The market place is bustling as Dot and Teddy are finishing the shopping, they race after Mum to catch the early train. The train is crowded, Dot squeezes in to get the window seat, whilst Mum sits beside her in her wheelchair. They see diggers, skyscrapers and a runaway balloon. Dot's excitement on arrival at the station, dancing and splashing in the puddles is suddenly marred by a realization. Did the train take Teddy, or did teddy take the train? Sitting on her mother's lap whilst the station attendant Peter (a quite dark figure) talks to them, Dot's imagination takes over and she can see Teddy enjoying a picnic with friends at Bear Bend. Ted's journey home is long and tricky, he's caught in a crowd, tumbled down a riverbank and left alone to watch cloud patterns in the sky. After Dot's tea and her bath, she becomes a little teary, Ted is lost, she's missing her her best friend.
The rhyming story builds momentum, like the rhythm of a train on the tracks, until we read the refrain - The train took Teddy... No! Teddy drove the train! Dot's in bed and Mum's reading to her when they hear the whistle blow, it is the seven-oh-two. Someone is there on the doorstep with a very special surprise.
Nicki Greenfield's illustrations combine the use of ink, pencil, acrylic with digital graphics and scanned objects. Cartoon sketches and caricatures fill the train carriage and market, with the backgrounds flooded with darker colours. As the story picks up speed, Dot's hair becomes wilder and more exuberant.
A delightful picture book, asking to be read aloud at home, preschool, kindergarten or school.
Rhyllis Bignell