Epic Adventures is a pleasingly large non-fiction picture book for children about great train journeys. From the Shinkansen bullet train in Japan to the Trans-Siberian express, this colourfully illustrated book inspires the wish to jump on a train and head off on an adventure. As we are just opposite London Bridge station, this urge is particularly strong just now!
You can tell this was written by a real train fan, as it has excellent facts and is suffused with enthusiasm. Sedgman is also author of train-based adventure stories for children including The Highland Falcon Thief, and the accessible prose in Epic Adventures shows that he is used to writing for children. He addresses the colonial heritage of some of the railways concerned, and the displacement they caused, which is important. I also appreciated the emphasis on rail as a more environmentally friendly form of travel.
My favourite of the many colourful illustrations is the northern lights overhead as the Arctic Sleeper speeds through to Norway.
As a fan of armchair rail travel (see The World’s Most Scenic Rail Journeys and Mighty Trains, on television) this inspires me to do some actual rail travel as soon as possible. Good for perhaps age 7 and up, Epic Adventures has history and geography, festivals and food. A nicely exciting gift for a young would-be traveller.