Some of the greatest children’s books follow a sort of structure. However, there are also those with a lovable charm that can only come from being inspired by a true story.

Lynda Daniele’s book Grandpa Nick the Conductor falls in the latter category. It’s a story about how a senior trolley conductor shows his son the cool secrets of his trade but ultimately comes home with another surprise. It’s a heartwarming retelling of an incident that really happened to her husband when he was out showing his son a trolley barn for the first time.

Along the way, readers discover a sweeter hidden side to the old conductor, who may love his job and his trolleys but still has a soft spot for something else.

This touching little book also happens to be the Season 3 winner of the RMazing Bonanza Level 1! And as such, readers can learn more about what makes this book very endearing and a great gift for kids.

Grandpa Nick and Son Explore the Shadowy Trolley Barn

The story begins as Grandpa Nick, an elderly trolley conductor, takes his 14-year-old son Anthony to check inside the great trolley barn. It was a cold winter’s day, and the doors of the barn were almost frozen shut.

Fortunately, the two of them were strong enough to still pry them open and find what they were looking for: a trolley dubbed “Pearl Mountain No. 3.”

Yet somewhere, in the darkness of that barn, they kept hearing a strange, scurrying sound. At first, Grandpa Nick thought it was mice. But as the sound grew louder and just a little more dramatic, he and Anthony quickly decide to find the cause.

To their surprise, it wasn’t a mouse or even a large rat, but a black-and-white cat that seemed to have been finding shelter from the cold.

It was at this point that Grandpa Nick showed he was not just fond of machines that go (like trolleys). He also had a very soft spot for animals. Feeling sorry for the newly-found cat, he and Anthony give it a warm place to sleep in the barn just as they set about getting the Pearl out.

But then, the surprises didn’t end there! When they checked the next day, the cat seemed nowhere in sight. That is until Anthony saw it nestled under a tree. The cat’s black-and-white color suddenly reminded him of the famous Yin-Yang symbol he learned about at school. And thus, he decided to name the cat Yin.

Just as he did, he noticed that Yin wasn’t in fact alone under the tree. With her were actually several adorable little kittens, revealing that Yin was a mother who could not leave her children unattended.

The story then goes on to describe how Anthony and Grandpa Nick cared for this little cat family and helped them find homes. It spoke of the friendship that soon developed between Grandpa and Yin, becoming an iconic pair for many trolley passengers.

In Memory of a Conductor and His Cat

The story then concludes with Grandpa Nick and Mama Yin now driving a trolley in heaven, picking up kindly souls, and still making a great team. And in a couple of last pages, Mrs. Daniele also has a cute little song dedicated to Grandpa Nick.

It doesn’t make much to see that the book is not just based on true events in her life but was also written in memory of the kind conductor it talks about. Asides from writing children’s books, Mrs. Daniele is also a lay sister in the Third Order of St. Dominic and taught faith formation in her local parish. The lessons on kindness and compassion that she learned from these events is one that she deeply wants to share with young readers through her books.

To learn more about her work and other publications, visit her website at:

The book is also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and ReadersMagnet Bookstore.