Another story from our collection of classics, this was written and illustrated in 1962 by Bill Peet. the author may be better known as an artist and screenwriter for Walt Disney, where he worked on animated classics like Peter Pan, 101 Dalmations and Fantasia. But in addition to his film work, Bill Peet also wrote and illustrated over 30 children's books including this one.
As on would expect from someone whose main trade was an artist for Walt Disney, the illustrations in this book are full of character and charm.
They appear to be pastel drawings in which the colours sem to further convey the emotions of that part of the story. The train, although beat up and old shows true character and charm in its expressions, and over all the illustrations are top notch.
The story is also well written in a gentle rhyming text. It tells about a tired and weary old steam engine long after the days of steam are past. He works away shunting and pulling in the yard, but longs to take real journeys again. When he hears he is destined for the scrapyard he decides to make a break for it and have one last journey. Although the journey doesnt end as planned Smokey shows courage and self sacrifice, and there is an unexpected but happy ending for him as a result.
My sons both love trains, so this book has been a big hit in our house, and frequently requested at storytime. I also enjoy the story. It is a bit oldashioned, but I like it all the more for that.