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Dog on a Train by Kate Prendergast

We were recently sent a copy of “Dog on a Train, The Special Delivery” to review. Illustrated by Kate Prendergast, this picture book was first published in 2015 by Old Barn Books. The paperback version was released in July and Kate's second book, "Dog on a Digger" will be out in October 2016.
Here's the blurb:

“Boy is late for his train. Rushing out of the house, he drops his favourite hat. Luckily, Dog is there to pick it up. But will Dog catch Boy in time? Follow the plucky Dog on this wordless adventure through the streets in rush-hour crowds. Charming and humorous, Dog on a Train is a book to delight dog lovers and tired commuters alike.”

Our thoughts...

This is a wordless yet moving picture book about friendship and loyalty. Mini Reviewer, Theo (2) loves trains and dogs so this book was always going to be a winner in our house. What I didn’t appreciate was the impact a wordless book would have on our story time together.

When I first opened "Dog on a Train" I was struck by the unique style of the beautiful pictures, which are softly drawn in black, white and grey. Red is cleverly used to accentuate the boy’s trainers and hat. This makes it easy to pick out the dog with the hat and the boy throughout the story.

After initially admiring Kate's artwork, I realised that without words I didn’t know how to begin to tell the story. However, I quickly saw this as the perfect opportunity for the Mini Reviewers to take the lead in the storytelling. Izzie (4) was in her element and Theo quickly joined in. Not only describing what they saw in the pictures but adding their own thoughts. When they lost their flow I simply asked them a few questions and this was enough to encourage them to continue with their stories.

What I love about this book, and wordless books in general, is that re-telling the story is never quite the same. You never know what the children may add or where their focus will lie. Izzie made up a whole story about why the boy was late and Theo was fascinated by the dog's train journey. We have had lots of fun with this book together and we would certainly recommend giving wordless books a chance.

We are now compiling a list of other wordless books to include in our 366 books in 366 days reading challenge. So far these titles have been suggested to us:

  • Dog On a Digger by Kate Prendergast - available October 2016
  • Footpath Flowers by JonArno Lawson
  • Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle
  • The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee
  • Journey, Quest and Return (Trilogy) by Aaron Becker
  • Bee & Me - Alison Jay

Do you have any wordless recommendations we could add to our list?

*Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of this book through Toppsta to review. All opinions are, as always, our own.

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  1. I love the idea of a wordless book because it allows a child's imagination to really take over. Thanks for sharing with #ReadWithMe

  2. I absolutely love these black and white illustrations. Wordless pictures are a wonderful way for children (and adults) to engage in a book and it is fascinating to hear some of the stories that children come up with :)


  3. I love wordless picture books, such a good way to get children talking and boost vocabulary. This book looks adorable #readwithme

  4. I'm looking for books about dogs to read with my grandson. I think he'd like this. He has a great imagination :-)

  5. What a clever idea. My boys are always acting out their own made-up stories but never tried this #readwithme