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Trains! (2009): Story! Please!

Charles Reasoner, Trains! (Rourke Publishing, 2009)

photo credit: Rourke Educational Media

Okay, maybe, in the age of Thomas the Tank Engine, this picture ISN’T creepy… but you’ll never convince me of that…

Trains!, one of Charles Reasoner’s Big Busy Machines series of books, was one grandma grabbed at the library for the bean because he’s a choo-choo fanatic. Both the bean’s mom and I read it to him at different times, and when we compared notes, it turns out we’d both come to the same conclusions independently. The short answer: it went back to the library within a couple of days. The long answer: the text is overly simplistic, even for a board book. There’s little in the way of continuity or storyline, which prevents the book from being of much value once the child gets to on-his-own reading and definitely kills the re-readbility value for adults reading to children. I have to say this wasn’t a huge surprise; I thought Reasoner’s name looked familiar, and when I checked the spreadsheet, it turns out we own another of his books, Jungle Animals, which the bean loves because it’s got big flaps to play with (and I like because it’s actually sturdy enough for a toddler to play with without tearing the flaps, which is very much not the case with many of his lift-the-flap books—most of which, by now, I have Scotch-taped into near-oblivion). That one, too, is overly-simplistic, but this one doesn’t have the benefit of interactive bits to hold either the child’s or the adult’s attention. * ½

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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