I have learned a lot over the years from David Powers' books on PHP and Dreamweaver. They were the first books on PHP that I purchased and read. I have since read PHP books by other authors and one criticism I have formed is that Mr. Powers, while extremely knowledgeable, has a tendency to get very complicated. He introduces a concept, but then that concept depends on 2 more concepts that contain "gotchas" that need further explanation etc., etc., until the excitement you felt in approaching the original concept gets lost down a spiral of minutia and complexity that - although important - can be detrimental to the shaky confidence of a true beginner. Being thorough is great, but not so thorough that you overload those you are trying to teach. Never is this more apparent than PHP Object-Oriented Solutions. I have completed the first 3 chapters and they were quite a struggle! My brain hurt. I don't understand why there wasn't an attempt to start out with MUCH simpler classes. Maybe a short, easy database connection class or something. Instead, the first class is a Date class and Mr. Powers goes into all manner of complexities, starting with an exhaustive dissection of PHP's DateTime and DateTimeZone classes, then extending the DateTime class and understanding how to deal with leap years, adding dates while accounting for different amounts of days per month, ect., which to me - although a very useful and well thought-out class - just added layers and layers of mental complexity right at the beginning, and made it much more difficult than it should have been for a fledgling OOP fawn struggling to learn syntax, structure, usage, etc.
There are some basic examples in Chpt 2, but there needs to be a smoother transition from those to the intense, tangled complexity of the other chapters.
So in all honesty, I cannot recommend this as a "gentle introduction" to the PHP OOP world. It is more like dropping you into the deep end and hoping you learn to swim. I would love to see a book that starts with a simple, basic class and then extends it through subsequent chapters, while introducing OOP theory along the way. I did not like how all the theory was crammed into one VERY dense chapter at the beginning of the book (chpt 2).
Having said all that, I think if you approach this book as a "solutions" book more than a "gentle introduction" it has some great benefit to those who are able to comprehend the level of complexity and make use of the classes offered. Certainly this is evidenced by the many positive reviews here.
For me, however, it got too complex, too soon. I am still looking for that "gentle introduction". If anyone knows a more basic book on the subject, please let me know.