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Friday, September 2, 2011

Things That Go

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I have never really been very interested in cars or trucks or planes.  However, after being married to a train aficionado for almost 20 years and then becoming the mother of a little boy who's obsessed with vehicles of any kind, I've come to appreciate "things that go" a bit more than I used to!  I've certainly read many, many books about them.  The following are some of my son Benjamin's favorite vehicle books.  (I recommend them, too!)

My Big Truck Book (2002)
and My Big Train Book (2003),
both by Roger Priddy

from My Big Truck Book
These large board books are perfect for toddlers who love vehicles.  Colorful photographs, specific truck and train names, and occasional details about the vehicles help kids (and clueless adults, like me) learn all about them.

Freight Train,
written and illustrated by Donald Crews, 1989

This one is a family favorite.  We originally bought it for my daughter Emmalie when she was a baby.  Since then, my husband and I have read it to all three of our kids countless times, and always with sound effects. :)  I love the simple, poetic words and the colorful train.

You Can Name 100 Trucks,
written by Jim Becker and Andy Mayer,
and illustrated by Randy Chewning, 1994

This shaped board book shows all kinds of trucks in their typical settings, doing the work they normally do.  And, if you read this book as many times as I've read it to Ben, you will eventually be able to name 100 different trucks! :)

All Aboard ABC,
by Doug Magee and Robert Newman, 1994

An ABC book about trains, this book features photographs and technical terms that railroad fans will love!

The Little Engine That Could,
written by Watty Piper, 1930,
this version illustrated by Christina Ong

I remember loving this classic as a child, and I still enjoy reading it aloud.  There are many versions of this story available, but each one celebrates the Little Blue Engine's helpfulness and determined spirit.

Big Machines! Big Buildings!,
(also published as The Lot at the End of My Block),
written by Kevin Lewis
and illustrated by Reg Cartwright, 2001

This cumulative story, in the same vein as The House That Jack Built, is told by a young boy who watches the construction of a building.  It's fun to read (and listen to), and teaches kids about various construction trucks along the way.

Mr. Punnymoon's Train,
written by Alice Hadsell
and illustrated by Katherine L. Phillips, 1951

This was one of my favorite books as a little girl, and this well-worn copy used to belong to my dad when he was a little boy!  Mr. Punnymoon is a train engineer who loves his job.  When he retires, he misses his work.  He decides to build a miniature train for the park, making himself and the children in his town very happy!

Cars and Trucks and Things That Go,
written and illustrated by Richard Scarry, 1974

This was another childhood favorite, of mine and my husband's.  I loved all the Richard Scarry books, not so much for the vehicles, but for the fun animal characters and the amusing, detailed scenes.  One of the parts I liked best about this particular book was searching for Goldbug on every page, something all three of my kids have enjoyed, as well.  Though some of the vehicles featured may never be seen outside a Scarry book (A pencil car?  A banana-mobile?), Cars and Trucks and Things That Go is filled with many real-life vehicles, as well.

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel,
written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton, 1939

This book was a favorite of my husband's when he was a boy.  Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne, the steam shovel, are a great team, working hard wherever they go.  But with the introduction of new, faster machines -- gas, electric, and diesel shovels -- the duo must prove themselves still useful.  More about friendship and perseverance than the history of steam vs. modern vehicles, this story is a timeless classic.

Katy and the Big Snow,
also written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton, 1943
Katy, a red crawler tractor, does all kinds of work to help out the citizens of Geoppolis, but in the winter, when she is used as a snowplow, she has to wait and wait through their mild winter, doing nothing.  Finally, there is "a big snow", and Katy is the only one who can save the town!  I'm thinking Katy must be related to The Little Blue Engine. :)

Smash! Crash! (a Trucktown book),
(also published as Welcome to Trucktown!)
written by Jon Scieszka
and illustrated by David Shannon,
Loren Long, and David Gordon, 2008

Ben and I discovered the Trucktown books at the library a year or so ago.  I spotted Smash! Crash! on the shelf, and quickly added it to our pile of books, since it was obviously about vehicles and I'd enjoyed some of Sciezka's other work.  When we got home, it was the first book Ben wanted me to read.  We both got a big kick out of the entertaining illustrations and story line!  Since that time, we've checked out every Trucktown book available at our library, titles such as Melvin Might?, Uh-oh Max, and Pete's Party.

Ben also owns the following Trucktown book:

Truckery Rhymes,
also written by Jon Scieszka
and illustrated by David Shannon,
Loren Long, and David Gordon, 2009

Filled with adaptations of familiar nursery rhymes, this is an all-around delightful book.  Ben took it to his preschool one day, for show and tell, and the teacher ended up reading the whole thing aloud because the class enjoyed it so much!

In addition to the books, I found that Sciezka also has a Trucktown website, which offers fun, easy games for young kids.

If I Built a Car,
written and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, 2007

My sister gave this book to Ben for his birthday last year.  Imaginative and clever, it is filled with hilarious illustrations and a rhyming story about all the features a young boy would add to a car if he could.

Do you love vehicles, too?  If so, what are some of your favorite books about things that go?

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