Freight Train

Book review by
Karyn Wellhousen, Common Sense Media
Freight Train Book Poster Image
Young train lovers will be intrigued.

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there's no objectionable content in this book. The spare story of a train's journey rhythmically complements the artwork, which dramatically illustrates the feeling of a train in motion.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 1-year-old Written byLauraBx20 June 22, 2018

My 15 month old loves this book!

This book has helped my daughter learn her colors. She never tires of this story. I use sound effects and I ask her to find the different colors in which she... Continue reading
Parent Written byneens_b January 28, 2013

Great color book!

My 2 year old son loves this book. It talks about trains and colors.

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What's the story?

All aboard! Donald Crews takes his young readers for a ride on a traditional freight train pulled by a steam engine. The cargo is loaded in colorful cars that blur together as the train picks up speed. Young train lovers will be intrigued by Crews's award-winning art.


Is it any good?

Donald Crews has effectively captured our enchantment with trains. By four or five years of age, children will begin recognizing the color word strategically placed above the corresponding car. This recognition of familiar terms is crucial to supporting beginning readers. Older, reluctant readers will find it reassuring to see familiar color words as they read.

Crews won the 1979 Caldecott Honor award for his expressionistic art in Freight Train. His style draws readers quickly into the book by eliminating unnecessary details. For example, as the train rushes past cities, a simple, two-toned skyline is in view. Majestic mountains are depicted by an effective but vague use of shades of violet. Even though the train's stature in our culture has diminished, generations of children have spent hours playing with toy train sets, and the memory of a train ride lasts a lifetime. Perhaps this explains children's continued fascination with the visual appeal, sound, and movement of trains, as well as kids' enthusiasm for this book.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of trains. Do you like looking at trains, reading about trains, and playing with toy trains? What's fun about them?

Book details

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