I had a chance to look over this book I discovered in the library recently and think it is the best opening book you can start out with if you are trying to learn openings.
Most players buy a bunch of books on different openings and end up not getting through any of them. Van der Sterran’s book is different. It covers a lot of material, but not deeply and that’s OK because beginning players don’t need a lot of sophisticated stuff. What they need is a very good explanation of general themes, development, and move orders with the main focus being on standard mainline openings.
Van der Sterren gives you enough knowledge to get through the first several moves which is all you really need because lower rated opponents aren’t going to be all booked up 15-20 moves deep anyway. Another great thing about the book is that it does not contain reams of analysis. Van der Sterren explains things with words which makes it easier to comprehend the principles behind the moves. It's a great book for beginners up to average players (around 1600). 450-plus pages large pages.