Books & Literature

Book Review: The Christmas Train, by Mike Lucas, illustrated by Sofya Karmazina

PICTURE BOOK: The Christmas Train follows the journey of a brother and sister as they journey towards Santa’s home in the North Pole. As they travel, they experience all of the magic Christmas has to offer, from candy cane trees to gingerbread houses and everything in between!

A lovely story about Christmas Eve which would be a perfect gift for any young child.

Feature image credit: Hardie Grant Publishing

Author Mike Lucas has certainly made his mark on the literary world since coming to Australia. After moving from the UK in 2010, he now owns and helps run Shakespeare’s bookshop in Blackwood, South Australia, with his wife Becky, while also working as an engineer. As well as fulfilling his day jobs, Lucas has managed to write several books over the past few years including Bad Herbert, his Let’s Build series of picture books, and his young adult novel What We All Saw, which achieved critical acclaim and was shortlisted for several awards.

Lucas has now written a picture book ready to add to any young child’s Christmas stocking. The Christmas Train is about two children and their dog who go on an adventure on Christmas Eve. The rhyming text sees them climbing aboard a train headed for the North Pole. Along the way they pass people celebrating Christmas in a winter wonderland: carolling, sledding, and skating. Arriving at the North Pole, they witness Santa and his elves preparing for the night while we are left to wonder whether it was real or just a dream.

Sofya Karmazina’s illustrations are colourful, full of detail, and fill every page. The colour palette helps the reader to feel the cold of the snowy landscape. The expressions on the faces of all the children are full of joy and wonder.

The gold embellished front cover shows the train full of children being waved at by two snowmen. Opening the cover completely, we find the illustration continues on the back cover as well so that we are able to get a hint of what is to come. The end pages have Christmas tapestry patterns which may remind parents and grandparents of woollen jumpers from times past. Eagle-eyed children may also notice the book they are reading sitting on the children’s table towards the end.

The storyline is simple, and set in a place that most young Aussie kids will never have experienced.

The snowmen are waving

The trees are aglow

The kids sleigh down slopes

That are covered in snow.

But every child knows that this is the place where Father Christmas lives.

The Christmas Train is full of happiness and excitement as we follow the train spiralling towards the North Pole. The detailed illustrations give the reader plenty to think and talk about as they prepare themselves for their own Christmas celebration.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

The views expressed in this review belong to the author and not Glam Adelaide, its affiliates, or employees.

Distributed by: Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing
Released: October 2023
RRP: $24.99

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