Posted in Preschool Reads

Book Review: Dinosaur Train, by John Steven Gurney (HarperCollins, 2002)

dinosaur trainRecommended for ages 3-6

A young boy loves dinosaurs and trains. One night, a dinosaur train shows up and takes him on a ride.

Dinosaurs and trains are both very popular themes for young readers – there’s a PBS show called Dinosaur Train, unrelated to this book – and putting the two together in a Polar Express-type of situation is a great idea. Jesse is a young boy who loves dinosaurs and trains. He draws them, he plays with them, he thinks about them constantly. When he gets ready for bed one Thursday night, he hears a loud noise, and his house begins to shake – a train full of dinosaurs has pulled up outside his window, and he’s been invited along for a ride! He hops on for a brief adventure. The artwork, done in oils and finished in Photoshop, detailed and bright, standing out against the plain backgrounds. The dinosaurs all have pleasant faces and are wearing people-like clothes – engineer’s overalls and caps, a ticket taker with a change belt, and jeans and dresses. Jesse is dwarfed by the huge dinosaurs, but there is never a moment where we worry for his safety.


dinosaur train_2

Dinosaurs and trains could be a fun storytime idea to explore further, with this book linking the two concepts. There are many train-related and dinosaur-related songs and fingerplays available; Everything Preschool has themes devoted to both.  It may be fun to stock the play area with toy trains and dinosaurs, and allow for a dinosaur train playtime after the story, or even arrange for a viewing of the PBS show.



I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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