The Train of Lost Things
The Train of Lost Things
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Annotation: Marty goes in search of the mythical Train of Lost Things, hoping that by finding his heart's possession he can save his father from cancer, but he discovers that, without a driver and conductor, the train is malfunctioning and only Marty and his new friends can fix it.
Catalog Number: #153943
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 191 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-524-73939-1
ISBN 13: 978-1-524-73939-3
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017014969
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
A heartbreaking reality is settling over Marty. His father's cancer has aggressively returned, reducing their time together to a matter of days. Compounding this terrible news is the fact that Marty has lost his beloved jean jacket. This seemingly minor loss takes on new significance as readers learn that the jacket was a gift from Marty's dad and covered with pins commemorating things they've done together. Grief can manifest in strange ways, and in this case, Marty becomes convinced that only the jacket and its memories can jump-start his dad's recovery. After remembering an old story about a train that collects lost items, Marty strikes out to find the train, recover the jacket, and hopefully save his dad. The unfolding adventure aboard this magical train never loses sight of the grim truth underlying Marty's story, but the quest for the jacket is essential to his being able to accept his father's condition. Paquette writes with compassion and a childlike sense of belief, and Marty's journey th personal and fantastic ll speak to readers on many levels.
Horn Book
Marty seeks the storied "Train of Lost Things" after he loses a jacket given to him by his dying father. In this fantasy-adventure, Paquette attempts to tackle large questions about death and loss with uneven success. The connection between the train and death is sketchy, but the notion that beloved lost objects are collected on a magical train is appealing, as is Marty's hero's journey.
Kirkus Reviews
A boy believes in magic and its curative powers.Marty accompanies his mother on a business trip only to have to rush home as his critically ill father worsens. He has always been close to his father and is devastated when he realizes that a denim jacket with its collection of special buttons—a gift from his father—is missing. But Marty's father has told him the story of the magical Train of Lost Things, and he just knows in his heart that if he finds the train, he can reclaim the jacket and all will be well. Paquette now focuses her story on Marty and the train: how he finds it, boards it, and meets another passenger, a girl named Dina Khan. Unfortunately, the train is not running properly, and the piles of lost treasures are strewn all helter-skelter. There is one more person on the train, a girl named Star, who explains the train's problems. Marty disembarks, and after his father's death, he receives a special, unmarked package with the best gift of all. The adventure on the train is engaging enough, but it subsumes the real-life impetus for Marty's search. Readers may find it difficult to sort out mourning the very real loss of a parent from all the magical elements herein. The ethnicity of the characters is not specified beyond Dina's name, implying a white default. The death of a father is rendered palatable by the magical properties of a train. (Fantasy. 9-12)
School Library Journal
Gr 46 With a hat tip to The Polar Express and the Hogwarts train in the "Harry Potter" series, this is the story of Marty and his quest for his lost and beloved jacketa gift from his dying father. The titular train is a magical place where beloved objects are stored and cared for until they can be reunited with their owners. On the hunt for the special jean jacket given to him by his dad, Marty stumbles upon the train. Each of the lost objects has a story which Marty becomes privy toeach tale reveals itself in a video cloud, almost like a social media post. As it turns out, the train is in trouble. The conductor is missing and the train has started to steal objects instead of just collecting and preserving lost items. Marty and his new friends, Dina and Star, must figure out what's wrong and fix the train. Situated firmly within a magical realistic frame, Paquette's descriptions of the train and its curiosities, otherwise known as "heart's possessions," are the most compelling aspects of the narrative, with the sleekness of the machine itself and the range of lost items swirling in the fantastical fog. Marty's pain is undercut by a self-conscious sarcasm which is, at turns, funny and off-putting. Readers will empathize with him and acknowledge the importance of his journey, but his endless quips can be grating. Marty's inner dialogue will appeal to readers of Gordon Korman, Jeff Kinney, and Dav Pilkey. VERDICT Recommended for larger collections and readers of Harry Potter fanfiction. Alpha DeLap, St. Thomas School, Medina, WA
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (1/1/18)
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Horn Book (4/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal (2/1/18)
Word Count: 39,477
Reading Level: 4.6
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.6 / points: 6.0 / quiz: 197421 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.2 / points:10.0 / quiz:Q75224
Lexile: 670L
Chapter 7
Take a Risk, See What Happens

For some reason, Marty had been imagining an old-fashioned storybook type of train, a steam engine like the Polar Express or the Hogwarts Express with a big belching smokestack and chug-a-lug wheels. The Train of Lost Things was nothing like that. This engine was round-nosed and silvery and sleek as an eel. Long stripes of fire-engine red swept dramatically down its sides. The windows were dark and shimmering and you couldn't see a thing through them. Here inside the fogbank, Marty and Dina were cushioned from the worst of the wind, and the train stood out sharp and clear against its muddy background. The mist had thinned into wispy branch-like tendrils that wafted up and down its sides. The great machine was a short run away, poised atop the rounded hill. But--it wasn't on the hill.

It was in the air.

In. The air!

Well, it was a magical train, after all.

The engine was humming and groaning, but the train hovered a half-body's height over the hill's peak. It wasn't on a track, either, which Marty probably should have expected: Magical trains obviously could travel wherever and however they wished. This train now ruled over the park--over the entire town--from its airy throne.

It also seemed--could it be?--like the train was waiting for something. Marty didn't know how he could tell this, but he could.

Was it waiting for them?

The train's headlights cut yellow-white light into the front barrier of fog. And then . . . the lights turned, ever so slowly, swinging around to aim directly at the two of them. Marty held up a hand to shield his eyes from the twin spotlight glare.

"Come on!" Dina yelled, and only then did Marty realize that she hadn't stopped when he had.

Now she had nearly reached the train.

The headlights blinked once. It felt almost like encouragement. Like an invitation.

Marty ran to catch up with Dina. His pulse pounded in his ears. This was too unbelievable! In front of him, the Train of Lost Things hovered, three or four feet off the ground. It was nearly close enough to touch.

"How are we going to get inside?" Marty called.

There were maybe a dozen train cars, all joined together by rubbery accordion-style connectors. At each car's end was a sleek door with a huge grayed-out window, and below each door was a jumping-off step that hung down, like on other trains Marty had seen. But since the whole train was floating, the actual step was at about his chest height. Great puffs of cloudy fog cushioned below the wheels and padded it on all sides, making the train look super mysterious--and also kind of intimidating.

"We climb up to get to the doors, I guess?" said Dina uncertainly, and Marty thought he knew how she felt. Magical trains were well and good in bedtime stories, but finding one in real life--not to mention climbing aboard one--was something else entirely. What if it didn't like you?

What if it did?

As they hesitated, a porcelain doll careened up from behind them, tumbling feet over curls on a brisk current of air. It headed straight for the window of the car where they stood. Marty's mom had a couple of those dolls, which had belonged to her grandma, and they were so delicate that she never let anyone touch them (they were "for display only"). The way this was one hurtling, it was going to shatter on impact.

Marty grabbed to save it. He missed.

The doll reached the window. And then--it sank through the shimmery glass and was swallowed up inside the car.

Marty was impressed. This train had game.

Dina, meanwhile, started marching at the train. She reached the door to the nearest car, grabbed the step with both hands, and did a pretty impressive pull-up. With a huff and a grunt, she hoisted herself to standing. Marty's stomach twanged uncomfortably--that step was high!--but Dina showed no sign of concern. With one hand clamped onto the holding bar, she grabbed the door handle with the other and yanked hard.

Nothing. The door was locked tight. Giving a frustrated yell, Dina squatted and jumped back to the ground.

"Come on!" she shouted over her shoulder, running toward the next door. "We need to find a way in. We'll have to try all the doors--some of them have to be open!"

The train burbled, and Marty felt a pulse of unease. He ran in the opposite direction from where Dina was rattling her next door. Shaking her head, she jumped down and kept going, while Marty pulled himself up onto his own step. By now he didn't expect the door to be unlocked, though he tried it to be sure. Still nothing.

There had to be a solution, if only he could find it.

He considered the door in front of him. There was no visible locking mechanism. (Not that he could have picked a lock, anyway, even if he could see it, but at least it would have been something to try.) The handle was sturdy, and the only thing he could have tried bashing it with was his phone; he didn't need to guess how that would end.

Marty threw his weight at the handle. It didn't budge.

He rammed his shoulder onto the door. Not even a tremor.

The train snorted. Actually snorted. Was it finding this whole process entertaining? Then it burped. The burp turned into a jolt.

The train inched forward. Just one step, but it was clearly a sign of what was coming next.

"It's gonna leave!" Dina shrieked from halfway up the train. "What'll we do? Why aren't you doing anything over there?"

"I'm," Marty called out over his mounting panic, "trying"--a big gust of steam puffed out from below the train--"to think!"

The horn bellowed out two short, sharp barks: Toot, toot! It almost sounded like, Let's go! Or, Come on! Or even, Outbound! Whatever it was, Marty got the distinct sense that this was not a train that waited very long for anything--or anyone.

They either found a way on, or it was game over.

"Come on, Train," Marty whispered. "You drew us here, right? So there must be a way in."

He jumped off the stoop and scooted a few steps back. He tilted his head, studying the train cars extra carefully. There had to be some clue here, something he was missing. Part of being a good finder, after all, was being a good looker. And now something nagged at him. He watched as a line of plastic farm animals flew in formation toward the train's window. In their neat single-file row they melted through the glass, one after the other: cow, pig, goat, moose (moose?), chicken, rooster, sheep, dog, cat.

Marty looked again at the mysterious, glimmering panes. He wondered.

The train's horn shrieked again, three short barks this time. In Marty's head it sounded like, All aboard! And, Final call! And, Heading out!

"Hey! Come back here!" Marty yelled to Dina as soon as the noise died away. She didn't hear him, though. She was too busy hoisting herself up onto the next step, rattling yet another door. The girl just didn't give up!

It was no use. The locks held; the doors stayed shut.

The train bobbled again. This time, it didn't stop. It was inching forward at a snail's pace, but it was definitely in motion. The cloud billows cushioned the edges of the floating wheels and moved right along with them.

They were almost out of time.

Marty had a hunch, but it looked like this one attempt would be all he had time for. If it didn't work, his quest was finished.

The train bellowed again.

Marty cinched his backpack tighter and tucked in his arms to his sides. He ran straight toward the suspended train step. From the corner of his eye he saw that Dina had turned to stare at him. Then she jumped down from her step and started to run alongside the train in his direction, like maybe she thought he'd lost his mind and was going to intercept his headlong dash.

He kept his eyes fixed on the door. This would be tricky to pull off. And if it didn't work--

No. He couldn't think that way.

Marty pushed himself to go even faster. He was nearly there--nearly there--nearly there.

Marty reached the train. He grabbed the stair with both hands and flung himself up into a leapfrog leap. He shot up. The moment his feet hit the step, he sprang into another jump. With one hand he pushed off against the door handle. The other hand he thrust out in front of him, straight at the silvery-gray surface of the door itself.

The glass parted like a curtain to let him in.

Still going a million miles an hour, Marty lost his balance and toppled in an ungraceful jumble of arms over legs over pretzeled-up backbone. He crashed hard against the far wall of the train.

But he was in.

He was IN!

Marty had made it onto the Train of Lost Things.

Excerpted from The Train of Lost Things by Ammi-Joan Paquette
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

A magical story about a boy's love for his dying father and his journey to the mythic Train of Lost Things, where beloved lost objects are rescued and protected until they can be returned. Perfect for fans of The Phantom Tollbooth, The Bridge to Terabithia, and Lost in the Sun.

Marty cherishes the extra-special birthday present his dad gave him -- a jean jacket on which he's afixed numerous buttons -- because it's a tie to his father, who is sick and doesn't have much time left. So when his jacket goes missing, Marty is devastated. When his dad tells him the story of the Train of Lost Things, a magical train that flies through the air collecting objects lost by kids, Marty is sure that the train must be real, and that if he can just find the train and get his jacket back, he can make his dad better as well.

It turns out that the train is real -- and it's gone out of control! Instead of just collecting things that have been accidentally lost, the train has been stealing things. Along with Dina and Star, the girls he meets aboard the train, Marty needs to figure out what's going on and help set it right. As he searches for his jacket, and for a way to fix the train, Marty begins to wonder whether he's looking for the right things after all. And he realizes that sometimes you need to escape reality in order to let it sink in.

In this achingly beautiful adventure, it is the power of memories, and the love between a father and son, that ultimately save the day.

Praise for The Train of Lost Things:

"Paquette writes with compassion and a childlike sense of belief, and Marty's journey--both personal and fantastic--will speak to readers on many levels." --Booklist

"Marty's inner dialogue will appeal to readers of Gordon Korman, Jeff Kinney, and Dav Pilkey." --School Library Journal

"Marty's pain at the imminent loss of his father is keenly felt, and Paquette deftly balances the emotional weight of his fear and grief with his fantasy journey on a train flying through the universe." --Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Kids everywhere can relate to the sorrow of losing a cherished item, giving this narrated adventure story a wide appeal [and] readers will connect with the unconditional love and hope that exists between parent and child." --School Library Connection


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