What parents need to know
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.
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.
Families can talk 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?