Newtons Book News

Childrens Book Reviews

Cars, Trains, Boats and Planes

Kids love all modes of transportation, especially in books. Never mind that gas prices are through the roof.  At least we can read about how we reach destinations without having to use expensive fuel to get there. So even though summer and vacation time is almost here, take a break from the rising price at the gas stations and enjoy these great vehicle books. These entertaining picture books, with the exception of the first book, are geared for ages 3 to 8.

Legendary Journeys:  Trains, by Philip Steele, is rich in non-fiction information about the history of trains and railroads beginning with steam engines. There are the most amazing slide-out and lift-up pages that form an elongated train with engines and trains connecting. You will also learn about train stations, track construction, famous railroads and much, much more. This extraordinary book is good for ages 8 through adult.

Cars Galore, by Peter Stein, and illustrated by Bob Staake, is a fun, and funny, celebration of cars. There are the most imaginative automobiles on every page with some very creative drivers behind the wheel. The rhythm and rhyme throughout will move the cars along and the full two-page-spread of roads seem seamless and continuous as you race along to the end. The white background enhances the digitally mastered illustrations bringing them to life – on the road to life. Traffic continues on the inside covers.

Things That Go, by Anita Ganeri and Mark Bergin, is a flip-the-flaps book that is made to pique the interest for children by asking three lively questions about a vehicle that kids most likely would like to know. For instance, in the construction site section, the questions include why cranes need to be tall and how cement trucks make concrete. The answers are simple and easy to understand, along with paintings of the vehicles in question. The contents include road, water and air. This book is part of an excellent series called “Flip the Flaps” that include animals, planet earth and weather.

Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic, by Robert Burleigh, and illustrated by Wendell Minor, is the retelling of an event that nearly cost Ms. Earhart’s life when she flew from Newfoundland to Ireland. The lyrical text glides through the darkened skies as this famous navigator fearlessly faces difficulty resulting from a sudden thunderstorm. The event, that took place back in 1932, was when long distance air travel was a challenge but demonstrated how brave and smart this true heroin was. The spectacular gouache and watercolor scenery magnifies this courageous event. Be sure to check out the afterward at the back of the book as well as the inside covers.

Honk Honk! Beep Beep!, by Daniel Kirk, is a playful story of nighttime magic when a youngster’s toys come alive while the boy sleeps. The toy father and son jump in a jeep and gather a collection of toy animals. The rhyming text rolls along with the movement of the jeep making this a delightful read-aloud. The brilliant oil paintings fill the pages making the magic magnetic!

The Rain Train, by Elena De Roo, and illustrated by Brian Lovelock, is an adventure that begs to be read aloud with the sounds of the rain and train whooshing through the book. And what better place to witness a nighttime storm than on a train as it goes through cities and over rivers straight towards morning? The watercolor and ink combination makes the hues of blues a blend of nighttime journey. And catch the inside covers beginning with night and ending with sunrise.

My Side of the Car, by Kate Feiffer, and illustrated by Jules Feiffer, is based on this daughter and father team and an event when they were about to go to the zoo. When mom tripped on a toy, the family went to the hospital instead. Again and again, they attempt to go to the zoo; and when they finally begin their drive, it begins to rain. But young Sadie tells dad that it’s not raining on her side of the car. She tells her dad that the sun is shining and the people are just watering their lawns. This tale is clever and fun to read out loud. The watercolor and pencil illustrations liven up the story with great fun.

Monster Trucks and Cool Cars Flip Book, published by Scholastic, has an inventive approach as you read through this easy chapter book about trucks. You flip the book over and see a new story about some great looking cars. The photos and brief descriptions of both make this a fun read.

Mitchell’s License, by Hallie Durand, and illustrated by Tony Fucile, is about a “car” that will actually not need gas, a steering wheel or even tires! Four-year-old Mitchell gets to ride on his father’s shoulders to go to bed. This hilarious drive will have reader and listener laughing all the way to Mitchell’s bed. The digital pictures blend texture and lines into a ride for your life!

Daisy the Firecow, by Viki Woodworth, is about a black and white spotted cow who decides to become the firehouse mascot. The fire chief tells her she can stay until they find a Dalmatian. But when she saves a baby calf from a burning fire, the firefighters change their minds. The colorful drawings are fun and add to this humorous story.

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