My 18-month-old daughter is fixated on trucks, trains, construction vehicles, and basically anything else that chugs, clangs, or vrooms, so we’ve been checking out a lot of books on these themes from the library. So! Here are some of our favorites. If you have other suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go has been a staple in our house for the past two months. It’s an oldie (well, from 1974), but has aged well and there’s so much going on on every page that you can talk about different things each time you look at it. Also, how awesome is it that the auto mechanic who rescues people on every page is a female mouse?!
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle, is a toddler double-header of trucks and farm animals. Score! It, as well as the sequel by the same author, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way, are both in verse. While they’re both rather heavy-handed with moral-of-the-story-izing, they’re cute enough to read several times in a row without wanting to pound your head against a wall.
We have Freight Train by Donald Crews in board bood format, and I’m pretty sure that it’s responsible for teaching my daughter colors – or at least the color purple. It’s also a Caldecott Honor book. We’ve also taken Crews’ book Truck out of the library. There’s no story–just some text on street signs and the sides of vehicles. It’s graphically appealing, but it didn’t hold my daughter’s interest.
Trains Go by Steve Light is another simple board book that’s appropriate for very young kids. It goes through the sounds that different types of trains make–e.g steam engines, speed trains, and mountain trains (trip trap fuff puff, for your information). My daughter really enjoyed the sound effects. The same author wrote a similar book called Trucks Go, but we’re still waiting on that from interlibrary loan.
There’s a copy of Monster Trucks! by Mark Todd at a café that we frequent, (Cup and Top in Florence, MA–it has a play area for kids. Good stuff.) and it’s a lot of fun, with fast-paced rhyming text. The monster trucks are antropomorphized dump trucks, garbage trucks, construction vehicles, etc.–not the type of monster trucks that crush cars at the War Memorial.
The Wheels on the Bus by Paul Zelinsky is such a favorite in this house that we have to hide it from time to time so that it doesn’t get loved to pieces. Basically, it’s the classic song illustrated in intricate pop-ups, lift-the-flaps, and moving parts, and there’s just so much going on in the illustrations on each of the pages. Good friends gave it to us as a baby shower present, and I’ve already done the same for other people. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a small child who wouldn’t enjoy this book.