Peace Train

HarperCollins. May 2021. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780063053991.
Gr 1-3–A barefoot troubadour, with black hair and tan skin, croons the opening words of the famous song: “Now I’ve been happy lately, thinking about the good things to come. And I believe it could be something good has begun.” A page later, a train rounds the bend, which the musician and a small orange cat board as soon as it comes to a stop at the station. That’s when readers learn that the Peace Train is inviting everyone in the world, from the furthest reaches of the globe, to ride along in a spirit of cooperation and empathy. When the train comes upon a break in the tracks, there is still a path to healing and good will. Reynolds gleefully creates billowing clouds of flower power images and other psychedelic touches, and gives the story a joyful arc that is impossible to ignore.
VERDICT Unlike many of the songs that have become picture book texts, this one builds up a real head of steam for world peace, and captures the childlike optimism of the original song for a new generation.

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