Growing Up and Moving Along
A train whistles in the distance and just like everyday the little girl can hear the train approaching from the west. She stands by the window and waves just like every day.
A Little House in a Big Place by Alison Acheson and Valériane Leblond is a lyrical story about growing up and moving on. The train goes by everyday and night and the little girl always waves to the engineer and he waves back until it’s his last day and he throws something special out the train window for the girl. The girl grows up and as she grows knows the train can take her anywhere, to great adventures. It’s a lovely story perfect for the end of the day and a nice cuddle up. Valériane Leblond has created some beautiful page spreads really capturing the wide fields of rustling grasses and the girl’s keen interest in the train. The illustrations are so textural and vivid, creating the rural home of the girl and her family.
On a personal note, the story really brought me back to my childhood. The first time I travelled on my own was by train from a small town through a big city and a transfer to another train and to another small town. I loved those travels on my own, independant and free. The train is such a lovely mode of transportation, the gentle rocking and clickety-clacking along the rails. The whistles at the street crossings and the comings and goings of the travelers are all so calming and safe. Also, this book reminds me of my grandmother’s house, a small house with a wide field behind leading to the train tracks. She still lives in that house and anytime we go to visit the train is still there, travelling east and west, a constant. If you have ay personal connection to trains or train travel or leaving home to make your way in the world, you will really connect to this story. What a lovely gift to give to our young readers, to let them know they can have big dreams and can travel near and far.