Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cars and Trucks

I have two boys and they like typical boy things.  Anything with an engine absorbs their attention: planes, trains, big machines, tractors, buses, motorcycles, trucks and cars.  I've already done a post on train books (which are truly their favorite), but trucks and cars come in a close second.

I have to admit, I've never really understood the thrill of things that VROOM.  Engines have never excited me and my view of cars is purely utilitarian.  (Yes, I own an minivan and I have no underlying feelings that this fact makes a negative statement on my life.)  But no one told me that having boys automatically signs you up for an intense immersion course on "things that go".  Believe it or not, I now know the names of many construction vehicles (they are not all generic "diggers".)  And most surprisingly, I have come to LOVE some truck and car books, but probably not for the same reasons my sons love them.  They love these books because engines  and fun noises are involved.  I love these books because they are funny, well-written, and cleverly illustrated.  They just happen to be about a truck or a car. 

So here's my list of favorites, which I don't mind reading over and over again to my boys.  (Note: I have only included fiction books.  There are MANY nonfiction books that are worth your time if you have a truck-aficionado at home.)

Little Blue Truck (Author: Alice Schertle; Illustrator: Jill McElmurry) - This book has moved into my top ten favorite picture books of all time.  Okay, I don't really have a top ten list, but if I did, it would be there!  It is adorable.  Little Blue Truck is the epitome of a good friend.  All the barnyard animals love him and he comes to the aid of a not-so-nice dump truck.  A bouncy rhyme bumps the reader along the road as you come to the satisfying conclusion.  And don't forget to look closely at the illustrations.  The toad has quite a personality!

Cars Galore (Author: Peter Stein; Illustrator: Bob Staake) - The whimsical, rhyming text of this book pairs with vibrant, off-beat illustrations that stretch the imagination.  Just try to picture this page: "Hundred-feet car./ Incomplete car./ Scary shark car./ Noah's Ark car!"  Reminiscent of Dr. Seuss, the crazy cars and funky drivers make this book a hit that my kids want to hear and just sit and look at again and again.

Sheep in a Jeep (Author: Nancy Shaw; Illustrator: Margot Apple) - This deceivingly simple book is full of wit, humor, and rhyme that makes it a page turner and a vocabulary builder: "Sheep tug.  Sheep shrug.  Sheep yelp.  Sheep get help."  (from two pigs with tattoos!)  While these sheep are not too bright, they solve their jeep problems in an unexpected way.  Love this one!

Trucks: Whizz! Zoom! Rumble! (Author: Patricia Hubbell; Illustrator: Megan Halsey) - This book is one of a series by this fabulous author/illustrator team.  The cadence and rhyme is similar to Cars Galore and the collage illustrations are full of puns and unusual drivers.  For example, the phrase "New trucks" has an accompanying illustration of a stork driving a "deliveries" truck full of babies! 

My Truck is Stuck! (Author: Kevin Lewis; Illustrator: Daniel Kirk) - This book is so well loved in our house that nearly every page has been repaired due to exuberant page turning!  And it is very wrinkly.  What better testament can you get for a children's book?  Another rhyming book, this one uses repetition, counting, a cyclical story, and a variety of helpers that come along to get the truck un-stuck to drive the story.  Now if illustrations tell at least half the story in a picture book, this one goes even further.  I don't want to give anything away, but you HAVE to read the illustrations to get the joke at the end of this book!  That's all I'm going to say.  I LOVE this truck book!

Run, don't walk, to your nearest library for all these terrific car and truck books!  Post a comment to share your favorites.


  1. I love Dumpy the Dump Truck by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, and I Stink! by Kate McMullan (about a garbage truck).

    Beth Stilborn

  2. Love TOAD! He cracks me up!

    You have to read "Goodnight Gorilla"--- that and Little Blue Truck are a must-read before bed every night.

    Oh, and this is for the boys. We love dozers!

    :) M

  3. Beth- both the books you mentioned are fun!.
    Marissa - the boys loved the video! Thanks for sharing :)

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