Top critical review
191 of 201 people found this helpful
a big disappointment
on April 23, 2002
Although I am a huge fan of DK books, and my two boys are huge train fans, this book was a big disappointment. Our family owns many train books for children and I am sorry to rate this the poorest of the lot. I feel this is too high of a price for this book.
The title says it is a big book but what that means is the page size is large and the photos are huge. The huge page size makes it hard to hold up to read aloud to, it works best to lie it flat on the floor or the bed and sit beside it to read it aloud. Many of these photos are published in other/better DK or Eyewitness published books on the subject of trains and railroads (see below) so if you own those books already then this one will be a repeat. (Also note that the DK board book on trains has some of these same exact photos in it.) Many times the photos are gigantic, covering one entire page-and they are ineffective. For example, why would we want to see this huge ½ of the front of a diesel engine? I'd prefer to use the large size of the book and/or the fold out pages to show the full length of the engine (rather than parts of one car) and to show the tender (if applicable) or perhaps use the long page length to show a full train of many cars that are all coupled up to each other.
There is not a lot of text to go with the photo spreads, the font size is rather large. In other words, there is not a lot of text to go with the photos; there are simply large font words with gigantic and large photos. Also note that this book is 32 pages long, so this is not a big book in the sense of containing many pages. Some of the pages fold out for really long and large pages but since these are regular paper stock, our copy quickly was bent and a mess. I feel that any children's book with fold out pages, for the age range of 4-8 should be constructed of heavier stock paper so it will last longer.
I highly recommend meatier books rather than this one, such as DKs "See and Explore Trains and Railways" and "Eyewitness: Train". "Eyewitness Train"... is 64 pages long, has more illustrations and more text. It is a bargain to get so much more in a book that is only a [little] more than DK's Big Book of Trains. Although the publisher states this is for ages 8-12, my two-year old son loves this book and I can partially read aloud from the pages until he wants to turn to another page. I find these books for older children are definitely enjoyed by the younger children. Not only do they contain more text but they contain more images. I also enjoy these more comprehensive books as I can read them myself to learn about the trains and I am prepared to answer the many different questions that my children ask me to answer. It is nice to have these more comprehensive books that are not "dumbed down" and that the children can grow into.