5 irresistible children's picture books

2. "Shark vs. Train," by Chris Barton, illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld

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Author Chris Barton says the inspiration for Shark vs. Train (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 40 pp., $16.99) comes from real life as well. His sons apparently adore sharks and trains, and the rollicking energy and joy of this book will be familiar to anyone who ever played with boys. The fiercely competitive shark and train leap from their toy box and launch into wild action – everything from galaxy exploration to sword fighting to high diving, chronicled by Tom Lichtenheld’s energized illustrations. By the time Mom calls for lunch, some readers may feel ready for a nap.

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