Every Friday I read stories to toddlers in a local bookstore called Cover to Cover this week I’m reading stories about things on wheels.
The Adventures of Taxi Dog by Debra Barracca, Sal Barracca, and Mark Buehner. From the people who brought you the Escape of Marvin the Ape this is a heartfelt story about a stray dog who finds a new home with a New York taxi driver. The illustrations are full of little jokes and so is the heavily rhythmic text, so rhythmic in fact that it asks to be made into a song, so that’s what I did. I won’t be singing the book though, it gets a little repetative, definitely better to just read it with silly accents. One small thing, I always have to skip the page that says “to the hospital quick, my wife is quite sick” the wife in question is a pregnant woman, she’s not sick, she’s having a baby! But apart from that it’s a fun book.
Chugga Chugga Choo Choo by Kevin Lewis and Daniel Kirk. This little train goes chugs through a bedroom littered with toys. It has great colourful illustrations, very crisp and clear, which helps us all to understand that this is an imaginary journey. It also ends in a sleepy bedtime (always useful in a potential bedtime story).
Melvin Might by Jon Scieszka, David Shannon, David Gordon, and Loren Long. The authors of this book read like the who’s who of contemporary american children’s books. It’s one of the Trucktown books, a new series of picture books designed specifically to engage boys in reading. It has to be said that there aren’t many narrative picture books about things on wheels so you have to applaud the effort. In this story, Melvin the Concrete Mixer is a worrier, but he’s forced to stop worrying and start acting when his friend’s little sister gets stuck in a hole. Some parents have been uncomfortable with the boistrous nature of this series, after all the little sister wouldn’t have been stuck in the hole if they hadn’t been playing a reckless game of jumping a half finished bridge and perhaps a more conservative book would have sent Melvin to get some help, not to jump into the hole after her. But if you can get over that, the core message about helping your friends is a good one and it certainly engages my son.
Duck on a Bike by David Shannon. I never miss an opportunity to read this book. I think I’ve mentioned it previously on this blog, but I’ll happily do so again. A duck rides a bike whilst his farmyard friends look on. What the animals say and what they think is cleverly different. Plus the action packed illustrations add a fast pace to the thoughtfulness. I also love how this book jumps in feet first to the story, it starts “One day duck thought to himself ‘I bet I could ride a bike'” and then he does
Rescue Vehicles by Gill Davies. This is a foil pop up book, not much to read, but the pop ups are fun to look at.
I’ll be singing “This Train is Going to the City”, “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Tractor”. I think I’ll do the William Carlos Williams poem about the red wheelbarrow, that should keep them on their toes.