In this poetic book from an Irish playwright and Rohmann (The Cinder-Eyed Cats, 1997, etc.), an immigrant child dreams of returning to Ireland, carried across the sea by the train that is actually taking him in the opposite direction, away and over the wide prairie. The train itself is a dreamer, yearning to spring its tracks and sail the oceans; instead, in Rohmann's accomplished, lapidary paintings, it speeds through waves of grass under immense skies, seeming at once majestic and, with its clean, rounded lines, toy- like. The story is a metaphorical take on the immigrant experienceyoung Conor accidentally drops out the window the model ship his grandfather had carved as a going-away present but later dreams of hearing the old man promise that ``there's bigger boats waiting for you.'' Readers will feel Conor's poignant sense of being severed from his past, and will understand why he accepts that forward, for the train and for him, is the only direction there is. (Picture book. 7-9) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.