Friday, February 13, 2009

Toddler books about transportation

I don't know how we ended up coming home from the grocery store with a small stack of baby books about cars and trucks and buses and bikes today. I went to the store to buy ketchup. I peeked at the books section for a cutesie valentine's day book, but I couldn't resist these books about things our bookworm loves.

The first two are very small chunky style board books. I pondered whether we had outgrown these type of books (I generally pick the full rather than board book versions of books now, figuring they'll be read for longer). However, the death grip that the bibliophile had on this first one assured me that we will still get a lot of mileage out of them (no pun intended, truly).

Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks from A to Z (A Chunky Book(R)) (Board book), by Richard Scarry. All the Richard Scarry favorites are here -- apple car, bananamobile, hotdog car, pickle car -- along with more run of the mill vehicles like ambulance, fire truck, and mail truck, all in a chunky little board book perfectly sized for clutching by infant and toddler hands.


"watermelon truck...xylophone car.../yogurt car...and a zippermobile!"

Bookworm's interest at 15 months: He likes to hold this and independently flip through it. We haven't read it enough times for favorites to develop yet, although I can imagine they'll be the same as from Scarry's other books.

Parent's Peeve: I wish they had included a bus.

Surprise, Thomas! (A Chunky Book(R)) (Board book), by William Heinemann. This chunky little board book features the famous Thomas train (and some of his friends), in a lift the flap format. Any young fans of Thomas will undoubtedly adore it. Our bookworm doesn't know who Thomas is yet, but I suspect that will soon change, so I bought some puffy stickers and this book so that we can at least have some literary introduction in there along with the onslaught of licensed merchandise which is sure to come as we move into the toddler years.


(At press time, I can't find our copy, so I'll add an excerpt later).

Bookworm's interest at 15 months: We've only read it a couple of times so far, but he likes the flaps and a page with a magician in a top hat (the hat lifts to reveal a bunny).

Parent's Peeve: Since he isn't already familiar with the characters, it is a little nonsensical when the text announces "Percy" is behind the flap. I have to read it as something like "Percy, a train, like Thomas the train! Percy is a train!" But he'll pick up on it soon enough. Probably in an hour like every other toddler out there.

Cars & Trucks (Scholastic First Discovery) (Paperback), by Scholastic. This paperback is bound to delight any young fan of cars, trucks, bikes, buses and boats; it has a few of each (even a fire engine). A fun feature of the book is the addition of transparent pages here and there, which add a unique element. One page has a transparent page in between a two-page spread of a bus; on the transparent sheet are passengers getting on. As the reader turns the transparent page, the passengers are getting off on the other side. It's a neat effect. The explanatory text is a step above the simplistic language usually found in transportation books (see excerpts), although not particularly fun or funny.


"The bags are well packed in the trunk, in the back./The engine is hidden under the hood, in the front."

"On the construction site by the port, the bulldozers and front loaders are very busy./The refrigerated trucks wait for the fresh fish."

Bookworm's interest at 15 months: He likes the bus, of course, but other little details interest him as well, like birds in the air and dogs as passengers in the cars.

Editing to add: after having this book for awhile, a couple of peeves have emerged.   Some minor, like the text explaining that drivers have to turn on their lights because other cars have theirs on (not really the proper reason) or to be careful because they have passengers (again, not quite the reason to be a careful driver).  But, more annoying is that the text for the pages with the passengers getting on and off the bus seems to be backward.  As the text explains that passengers get on the bus, the illustration shows them getting off the bus, and vice versa.  I wonder if these are somehow translation errors from the french version.

Other transportation books we've read include:

Planes (Usborne Big Machines) (Board book), by Clive Gifford. A sturdy, short board book featuring five different types of airplanes and a couple of lines of text per plane. He enjoys it. The plane images are nicely detailed and large, each taking up a two-page spread.


"These blades lift the helicopter into the air./ The helicoptor rests on these poles called skids."

Bookworm's interest at 14 months: All about equal.

(Does this qualify? Throwing it in here, because it's just so cute):

Sheep in a Jeep (Board book), by Nancy E. Shaw. I thought the clever rhyming text in this board board made it a really fun read-aloud book. It didn't really grab the bookworm's attention until he learned the sign language for "bird"; one happens to appear on nearly every page, so it then became a frequently requested book. We'll try it again when he can follow the story, which involves the amusing travails of a group of a jeep, of course.


"Jeep goes splash! Jeep goes thud! Jeep goes deep in gooey mud!"

Bookworm's interest at 14 months: At 14 months, just the bird. Hopefully that will change.

And ones we've read and reviewed here before (title links to our post with a review):
Barcos y aviones.

Hope you find some ideas in there for your little grease monkeys.

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