Along The Railroad Track

Number of illustrations needed for this story: 12



Once upon a time there was a man who worked along the railroad track. This railroad track ran along until it came to a great river, deep and wide, and the railway bridge went over the water.

Now there were large boats which sailed frequently down this river, and the bridge was too low for them to pass under it. So the bridge was made in a special way so that it was split down the center. It was retractable. That means that a big crank could be turned to pull the railroad track back some on either side of the split, making a passage way for the boats to get through. Then when it was time for a train to come, the crank would be turned again, and the railway track would meet in the middle, making it possible for the train to pass safely over the river.

This man stayed all day by the track, cranking it closed when trains were coming, and cranking it open again when the trains were safely on their way. It was hard work, for the railroad bridge was made of heavy metal, and the man had to be very strong to turn the crank.

Sometimes, this man brought his son along with him. They would talk together about the river, about the trains, and about the boyís dreams and hopes, and also about the fatherís hopes for his son. They ate lunch together too. The day never seemed as long to the man when his son came along. He did love his son so very much.

One day, this man decided to bring his son along to work again. In the middle of the afternoon, the father said, ďSon, Iím going to go over there just a little ways yonder and talk to a man who was supposed to meet me here today. I have a little bit of business I need to discuss with him. Iíll bring our lunch back when I come. In about forty-five minutes, a train is supposed to come through, but I will be back in time to crank the railroad bridge together. Donít worry about that.Ē

Then the father went a little ways away to talk to the man he had been supposed to meet. He knew heíd have to come back in twenty-five minutes, because it took about fifteen minutes to crank the bridge together, and he wanted it to be together in time for the train to pass safely over.

Twenty-five minutes passed. Then, as the man was walking back to the railroad track, he heard cries of despair. Hastening his footsteps, he came closer. What he saw caused him to cry out in anguish. His son had for some reason crawled down under the bridge, perhaps looking at something out of curiosity, but he had gotten stuck among the heavy metal. If the man cranked the railroad bridge together, his son would be crushed. But if he didnít, the train would crash into the river, and hundreds of people would die.

The man looked at his watch. He had only eighteen minutes until the train would come through. It would take fifteen minutes to crank the bridge together. He had only three minutes to get his son out, and there was not time. He was stuck down underneath in a difficult place, struggling and despairing. It would take much time to free him from the place in which he had somehow become entrapped. The man had to make a terrible decision. Who would die: his son or the hundreds of people on the train?

He squeezed his eyes tight shut. His heart was breaking as he put out his hands and took hold of the crank. ďSon, I cannot save you,Ē he whispered, and then tried to explain louder to his son what the situation was. He began to turn the crank. With every turn, his heart broke more and more. The cries of his son were the worst sound he had ever heard in his life. He cried with him.

The train was coming nearer and nearer, and just in time, the metal bridge clanged together. It was over. The train passed safely by. Hundreds of people were unaware of the huge sacrifice that had just been made for them. The man had given his very own beloved son to save the lives of others.

Now let me tell you what this story is really about. The father is our heavenly Creator. The son is His Son, our Messiah. Because of our sins we would all have to die forever. But the heavenly Father knew that if He allowed His Son to die in our place, then we would not have to die.

Could you feel the fatherís pain and sorrow as he cranked the bridge together? Did you cry with him? Can you feel the heavenly Father's pain and sorrow as He saw His Son beaten and whipped and nailed to a stake? In His heart, He was bleeding with His Son. His heart was breaking as He saw His Son go through so much pain. But He did it.... just like the dad who worked along the railroad track.... to save your life and mine. We are the ones who would have crashed into the river and died. We are the ones who would have suffered. But by dying for us, Messiah made a way for us to pass safely over, and to have eternal Life. What is more, He didn't become trapped in this death by accident. He chose to die for us.

Just like the people in the train who did not know what had been done for them, a lot of times we forget to think about what has been done for us. We forget that our lives are saved because of a very great sacrifice. Have you thanked Him?




Illustration Ideas

Here the story will be repeated, broke down with suggestions for illustrations. You do not necessarily have to follow these suggestions, but be sure to read over this section before you begin drawing your illustrations.


Don't hesitate to simplify the illustration ideas for very little artists. Please encourage children to do their very best, according to their individual abilities, but remember that we want "Thou Hast Ordained Praise" to be an opportunity for all ages, and we do not expect "perfect pictures". It is highly encouraged that children of all ages get involved.

There are several illustration ideas given for each page. These are here for you to choose from, or perhaps you will want to come up with your own ideas. You should do at least one illustration for each page. If you want to combine several ideas in one illustration, or if you want to do two illustrations for some or all of the pages, that is fine too. Be creative!

You may prefer having your children each illustrate their own book. If you want to have your children illustrate a book together, that is perfectly fine too. Since each page can have as many as two illustrations, it is an option to have an older child and a younger child both draw an illustration for the same page.


Once upon a time there was a man who worked along the railroad track. This railroad track ran along until it came to a great river, deep and wide, and the railway bridge went over the water.

Illustration ideas: 1) a man standing by a railroad track 2) a railroad bridge over a river, with or without the man


Now there were large boats which sailed frequently down this river, and the bridge was too low for them to pass under it. So the bridge was made in a special way so that it was split down the center. It was retractable. That means that a big crank could be turned to pull the railroad track back some on either side of the split, making a passage way for the boats to get through. Then when it was time for a train to come, the crank would be turned again, and the railway track would meet in the middle, making it possible for the train to pass safely over the river.

Illustration ideas: 1) the river and the bridge, with the bridge pulled back on either side and some boats sailing through (Make sure if you do this illustration to make the boats high enough that it is necessary for the bridge to be retractable for them to get through.) 2) An easier illustration for a little artist could just be a boat.


This man stayed all day by the track, cranking it closed when trains were coming, and cranking it open again when the trains were safely on their way. It was hard work, for the railroad bridge was made of heavy metal, and the man had to be very strong to turn the crank.

Illustration ideas: 1) man turning the crank


Sometimes, this man brought his son along with him. They would talk together about the river, about the trains, and about the boyís dreams and hopes, and also about the fatherís hopes for his son. They ate lunch together too. The day never seemed as long to the man when his son came along. He did love his son so very much.

Illustration ideas: 1) the man and his son eating lunch together 2) the man and his son standing together 3) Little artists could draw two heads.


One day, this man decided to bring his son along to work again. In the middle of the afternoon, the father said, ďSon, Iím going to go over there just a little ways yonder and talk to a man who was supposed to meet me here today. I have a little bit of business I need to discuss with him. Iíll bring our lunch back when I come. In about forty-five minutes, a train is supposed to come through, but I will be back in time to crank the railroad bridge together. Donít worry about that.Ē

Illustration ideas: 1) the father and son together, with the father pointing over at another man


Then the father went a little ways away to talk to the man he had been supposed to meet. He knew heíd have to come back in just a little while, because it took about fifteen minutes to crank the bridge together, and he wanted it to be together in time for the train to pass safely over.

Illustration ideas: 1) son watching the father walk away from the railroad track (Make sure if you do this illustration to have the track open in this picture. Remember that the father has not cranked it together yet.)


A little time passed by. Then, as the man was walking back to the railroad track, he heard cries of despair. Hastening his footsteps, he came closer. What he saw caused him to cry out in anguish. His son had for some reason crawled down under the bridge, perhaps looking at something out of curiosity, but he had gotten stuck among the heavy metal. If the man cranked the railroad bridge together, his son would be crushed. But if he didnít, the train would crash into the river, and hundreds of people would die.

Illustration ideas: 1) son stuck under the bridge 2) The father could be included in this picture too, maybe on his hands and knees, looking down at the son.


The man looked at his watch. He had only eighteen minutes until the train would come through. It would take fifteen minutes to crank the bridge together. He had only three minutes to get his son out, and there was not time. He was stuck down underneath in a difficult place, struggling and despairing. It would take much time to free him from the place in which he had somehow become entrapped. The man had to make a terrible decision. Who would die: his son or the hundreds of people on the train?

Illustration ideas: 1) the man looking at his watch 2) A simpler illustration for a little child could be a drawing of just a watch. He squeezed his eyes tight shut. His heart was breaking as he put out his hands and took hold of the crank. ďSon, I cannot save you,Ē he whispered, and then tried to explain louder to his son what the situation was. He began to turn the crank. With every turn, his heart broke more and more. The cries of his son were the worst sound he had ever heard in his life. He cried with him.

Illustration ideas: 1) the man with his eyes shut 2) the man turning the crank


The train was coming nearer and nearer, and just in time, the metal bridge clanged together. It was over. The train passed safely by. Hundreds of people were unaware of the huge sacrifice that had just been made for them. The man had given his very own beloved son to save the lives of others.

Illustration ideas: 1) the train passing safely over the river (The picture could include the man standing nearby with tears running down his face as the train passes by.)


Now let me tell you what this story is really about. The father is our heavenly Creator. The son is His Son, our Messiah. Because of our sins we would all have to die forever. But the heavenly Father knew that if He allowed His Son to die in our place, then we would not have to die. Could you feel the fatherís pain and sorrow as he cranked the bridge together? Did you cry with him? Can you feel the heavenly Father's pain and sorrow as He saw His Son beaten and whipped and nailed to a stake? In His heart, He was bleeding with His Son. His heart was breaking as He saw His Son go through so much pain. But He did it.... just like the dad who worked along the railroad track.... to save your life and mine. We are the ones who would have crashed into the river and died. We are the ones who would have suffered. But by dying for us, Messiah made a way for us to pass safely over, and to have eternal Life. What is more, He didn't become trapped in this death by accident. He chose to die for us.

Illustration ideas: Because we do not know what Messiah looks like, and in deference to the command to not make an image to worship, we make it a general practice to refrain from drawing detailed pictures of the Messiah. It is our concern that we don't want our children to think of Messiah as having to look like a certain image just because that is how everyone draws Him. We want them to worship Him without doing so with a picture in their minds of what society tells them He is supposed to look like. Of course this is hard to do, with man's pictures of the Savior everywhere..... but we refrain from using these pictures in our books.
1) a grave 2) a nail piercing through a hand 3) the father's hand cranking the bridge crank 4) The picture could be of you, with "thinking bubbles" that show the nail-pierced hand and the bridge crank being turned.


Just like the people in the train who did not know what had been done for them, a lot of times we forget to think about what has been done for us. We forget that our lives are saved because of a very great sacrifice. Have you thanked Him?

Illustration ideas: 1) train passing over the river again 2) you down on your knees thanking Messiah for salvation


This book, once it is completed, will actually be a 32-page book. This is the minimum amount of pages we can do for a perfect-bound book. We aim to stick with the smallest number of pages possible, to make it financially easy for you to be able to get copies of your finished book.