Kiddo (6) says four stars because it was good (and about trains) but also a little scary.
I say four stars because the moral lessons (which I agree with) were not particularly subtle.
Update: changing my rating to 5 stars because it’s 10 days after we finished the library copy and they have their own copy and we’re rereading it – but this time they’re willing to alternate reading chapters with me. They love it just as much this time around. We’ve discussed the bits about endangered animals and the things we can do to help. I thought the endangered animals bits were a bit too ‘hit you over the head’ the first time around, but they seem to have made my kiddo think so I’m willing to admit that Lev Grossman might just know what he’s doing.
Also, note that while they normally try to get out of reading picture books they are perfectly happy reading entire chapters of this book. We get done with school for the day and they immediately go, “can we read the Silver Arrow? You read 2 chapters and I’ll read a chapter?” Sometimes they even read two.
They draw pictures of the Silver Arrow and Twilight Star. They build them in LEGO. They are basically obsessed lol. Any book that can kick off a kid’s love of reading deserves 5 stars in my opinion.
They’ve even decided we’ll read a new book once we finish this one – another book about a magical train I’ve suggested but they were hesitant about. (They are skeptical of new books because I guess new books are more stressful than familiar books.)
So, anyone with middle-grade magical train book recommendations — send ’em my way.