Old Tracks, New Tricks: Picture Book Review Plus Craft Activity and Giveaway Prize Package

What? You guys are back?

Not tired of hanging out with me?

I’m so glad, because we’ve got a 2017 debut picture book to review for Perfect Picture Book Friday plus an awesome fun craft to create with kids. Plus a fabulous giveaway prize package from author Jessica Petersen. More about that at the end of the post.

But first, more picture book goodness…author Peter McCleery reminded me that we have a copy of Bob and Joss Get Lost to give away from last week’s Will Write for Cookies post.



Congratulations, Sandy…I will give Peter your email so he can connect with you and get you the book!

And now, let’s get back on track with our Perfect Picture Book of the week.




Written and illustrated by Jessica Petersen

Publisher: The Innovation Press (2017)

Ages: Preschool – Grade 3


Trains, imagination, working together


From Amazon:

Wooden train tracks Trixie, Tracky, and Tinker are thrilled to finally join a train set of their own. Unfortunately, their excitement derails when they discover things at their new home are not what they expected. Bossy wooden trains blare orders, and the old tracks snore on the floor. But with a little creativity, the three new tracks work together to prove that you really can teach old tracks — and trains! — new tricks.

 With rhyming text and clever word play, Old Tracks, New Tricks is sure to entertain parents and children of all ages, from train-obsessed toddlers to school-age kids looking for new ways to play with their old favorite toys. Full directions for each fun “trick” from the story can be found at the back of the book to inspire hours of creative train play.

 Why I like this book:

  • Visually stimulating, this book encourages creativity, inspires imagination, and creates many moments of working together.
  • I’m a big fan of repurpose and recycle…I know many parents relegate the train sets to the back of the closet when kids lose interest in them…this book is your best reason to pull them out again.


Make A Ride On Train

cardboard-trainsPhoto courtesty: http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/trains-craftsideasactivitieskids.html

Wow…can you imagine how much fun your child will have with this.

You will need: Cardboard boxes, paper plates, empty oatmeal box, glue, scissors, markers…optional: tempura paint, construction paper/newspaper/gift wrap.

  1. Cut the boxes as show in the picture or as you desire.
  2. Cover with some type of paper (newsprint, giftwrap, construction paper) or paint or let your child color with markers or crayons.
  3. Decorate the paper plate wheels and attach with glue (or stapler).
  4. Cover oatmeal box with construction paper and attach to front top of train.
  5. Cut front grill from paper, decorate, and attach.
  6. With only a few cents of materials, you and your child will have a ball.
  7. If you don’t have boxes large enough for your child to sit in, make a train from shoeboxes or cereal boxes, attach a string, and you’ll have a pull-toy.

For more train crafts: http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/trains-craftsideasactivitieskids.html

Jessica’s book include many creative ideas also.

creative ways to use tracks

So cool, right? Who would’ve thought! If you’d like to throw your conductor’s cap in the ring, leave a comment here and/or on tomorrow’s Will Write for Cookies post. Author Jessica Petersen is giving away a super prize package: a signed copy of Old Tracks, New Tricks plus a wooden track decorated as one of the characters in the book plus a sheet of decals so the child can decorate his own tracks (or anything else…like walls, baby sisters, etc.).


Have a wonderful weekend…and don’t forget to come back tomorrow to hear all about the all aboard moment that set Jessica on the right track to create this wonderful book.

And to join in more picture book review fun, please hop over to Susanna Leonard Hill’s website for more Perfect Picture Book Friday posts.




About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on March 10, 2017, in Craft Activity for Kids, Perfect Pictture Book Friday, Picture book reviews, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 49 Comments.

  1. Fun book and what a great activity, Vivian.


  2. that looks like a book my nephew would have loved when he was younger

    and yay for Sandy! Winning books is always good.


  3. Cathy Stenquist

    I am so inspired by this book. Love love love how she expanded the fun in her great activities. I think I will look at my granddaughters toys in a new way this morning! Thanks!


  4. Kathy Mazurowski

    This sounds like so much fun. Congratulations Jessica. Thanks Vivian for the recommendation.


  5. Cathy Ballou Mealey

    Oh my – I just sold my son’s 77 piece Brio set on craigslist. Wish I could have told the excited young mom who snapped it up about this book! Maybe I can find her email…Would that be weird? Congrats Jessica!


  6. Great blog! Vivian!
    Congrats to Sandy!

    Have a great weekend!
    Write on!🦋


  7. mariagianferrari

    This looks so cute! That cover is just adorable, Vivian!!


  8. The cover alone drew me right in. What a clever story line, Jessica! I look forward to seeing the book! Thanks for sharing it, Vivian!


  9. Looks like a fun book to read. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Thank you for sharing!


  10. What a delightful book. I remember how much I loved our train set as a child. Have an adult friend who has a huge train room. Will give him this book.


  11. Great activities and how I wish we’d had this when my son was younger! Thanks.


  12. I used to love playing with trains and wooden tracks with my daughter when she was younger. We had little snack stations set up along the tracks. Later I set out little objects along the track and when her train arrived at one, she would have to stop and spell the name of the object. Even though she has outgrown her train set, I think reading this book together will bring back valuable memories.


  13. As the mother of a train obsessed son, I love the idea of this book. Can’t wait to check it out!


  14. This book has young Paxton’s name all over it!! Thanks for sharing!


  15. Love this book! I work with Pre-K kiddos and this would be great in conjunction with our block/train center.


  16. Now I know what to do with my son’s old Thomas tracks. Thanks for the post Vivian.


  17. Oh, gosh! I will try to order this for the store today!!!! Yowza!


  18. This looks super fun; my son would’ve loved this one a few years back! We may have to try out a few of those craft ideas with all his old tracks (from Thomas and Chuggington sets).


    • We’re finding that elementary-age kids are really enjoying it and getting into inventing new “track-tivities” with their tracks, even when they never played with trains much when they were younger. I was hoping for that, and used my own first grader as a test subject for all the activities, but I’m just so pleased that it’s inspiring more play out of train sets!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. What a fun book! The craft is right on, kids absolutely love boxes, often more than the toys inside them.


  20. Ali Earle Pichardo

    I can’t wait to get Old Tracks New Tricks to read to my 3 grandsons. It looks adorable.


  21. My grandkiddies will love this. Thanks for sharing… Can’t wait to get started 🙂


  22. Loved the interview. What a lovely book; excellent for kids.


  23. This book looks delightful. I still have the train track set and table in my kids playroom, but nobody plays with the tracks anymore…maybe this book will inspire them to repurpose.


    • Thank you! One of my main intents in writing it was to help inspire older kids to get out the wooden train tracks again. I really think the tracks are a great elementary school-age toy, with all the complex building possibilities, and I’ve been so pleased to hear about kids getting re-interested in their train sets after reading the book.


  24. I love the idea of repurposing the old tracks & trains. And congratulations, Jessica, on the publication of a rhyming picture book!


    • Thanks! The funny thing is that I wrote the book under contract, and I was asked to try to write it in rhyme. I had to laugh because that’s usually such a hard sell! But I was very pleased I was able to (I hope) pull it off in the end.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. I still have my kids’ wooden train set. Brings back lots of memories and maybe it will be used again one day! Congratulations, Jessica on a very clever book!


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