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Author: Paquette, Ammi-Joan
Publisher: Philomel Books
Year Published: 2018
ISBN: 978-1524739393
Grades: Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8, Grade 9

The Train of Lost Things

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Things are important. They define certain moments in our lives, hold cherished memories, and can be with imbued with the magic. The Train of Lost Things is a manifestation of that special bond we have with our favorite things, a mystical engine that collects the beloved items children lose, in order to reunite them with their owners. And when Marty loses his jean jacket – the one his father bought, with buttons that commemorate the times they shared – he knows he needs to board the Train in order to get it back. After all, the jacket is special, and only it might have the power to heal the cancer that brought his father to the brink of death…
In recent years, fiction has become a great tool to help children and young adults deal with the idea of death and illness, especially cancer. Works like “A Fault in Our Stars” are world renowned for their unflinching look at the way not only the patient and the deceased are affected, but also the impact on those left behind. Ammi-Joan Paquette is a worthy addition to the repertoire, and indeed, fills a much-needed niche in a genre dominated by realistic fiction. Paquette imbues the sadness of her subject matter with a touch of enchantment and hope. Marty is looking for his jacket on the Train, hoping to cure his father; Dinah, the girl he meets when running to catch the train, is looking for her locket, which she hopes will one day connect her with her mother; and the strange girl, Star, that is trying to keep the Train running, hopes that she can live up to the previous Conductor’s expectations, and find a home of your own. What all of them learn though, is that the magic to prevent the sad things from happening, isn’t always the magic you need. Horrible things happen in life, but sometimes the magic is the life and purpose that comes from those things, and the ability to push through to the other side.
A great book for readers as young as grade 5, Paquette’s book can also be enjoyed by those up into grade 12 (and beyond even). Whether a reader is looking for a toned-down fantasy novel that doesn’t go crazy with action and villains, or they are looking for a book that will help them come to terms with their own trials, this book is multi-purposeful and will be well-loved in any library.

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