Review of The Train Home

The Train Home The Train Home
by Dan-ah Kim; illus. by the author
Primary    Greenwillow    40 pp.
4/23    9780063076914    $19.99

An enchanting look at a child’s quest for belonging. Nari is a quiet, dreamy sort of girl, and at times her bustling, multigenerational Asian American household is a bit too raucous for her liking. As she peers out her apartment window and hears the rumbling of an elevated train, she imagines hopping on and riding to someplace beautiful and a bit more serene. She is soon transported to a magical forest with a treetop nest, then a lovely beach with a sea breeze, a coral reef under the waves, and a magnificent library full of books. Nari’s musings take her on a prehistoric jaunt with some dinosaurs and even into space, where she makes a wish on the brightest star. After a while, she longs to share her discoveries with her family and finds that she misses her parents’ laughter, her ­grandparents’ stories, and her sister’s singing. She decides to catch the next train home, “where her favorite people in the world are gathered.” Korean American author-illustrator Kim’s (The Grandmaster’s Daughter, rev. 1/22) mixed-media art is dynamic, subtly blending realism with touches of whimsy and lush naturalistic detail. The palette is equally pleasing, with just the right distinctions between cityscapes and dreamscapes. This understated and creative picture book takes on the theme of being true to oneself and ends with the realization that “there’s no place like home.”

Pubissue-From the May/June 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Luann Toth
Luann Toth

Luann Toth is a former reviews editor at School Library Journal. She holds an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh.

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