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Original photo source: Eric Richards
I expect many toddler boys are like my David. He has been obsessed with all things trains, trucks, and fire engines for the better part of a year. I trip over train tracks in my boys’ room almost every night trying to get Joshua from the crib.
I only half-joke when I say I think we’ve checked out every single train book from the branch of the library we visit – and requested books from other branches. Now we’re working on all the firefighter and big truck books, too!
My kids LOVE to read and love the library, and for awhile every time we pulled up David would say, “Train books!” I love our enthusiastic trips and our helpful children’s librarians.
Here are some of our favorite train, truck, and fire engine books – the ones that are tolerable for Mommy, too!
Little Blue Truck and Little Blue Truck Leads the Way by Alice Shertle, illustrated by Jill McElmurry – These sweet, rhyming books feature a truck that gets ahead by being nice. And the first one has trucks AND animal sounds. Every little boy’s dream.
Even Firefighters Hugs Their Moms by Christine Kole MacLean, illustrated by Mike Reed – A young boy plays pretend as a firefighter, police office, EMT, train conductor, astronaut, and other occupations, using his baby sister and toys as props. Meanwhile Mom keeps asking for a hug, but the boy always has a good excuse. I love how this shows a creative child, a boy playing dress-up and pretend, and the persistently playful mother.
Clickety Clack by Rob and Amy Spence, illustrated by Margaret Spengler – How much mayhem can Driver Zach take before going crazy? A few yaks, acrobats, elephants, ducks, and some mischievous mice push him over the edge. A fun repeating, rhyming book that shows a great big ruckus.
Puff-Puff, Chugga-Chugga by Christopher Wormell – I’ll confess this isn’t my husband’s favorite, but I like this sweet, very British book about a train conductor who transports three very large passengers and the trouble that ensues. You’ll probably find it at your library, but it’s out of print.
Train Man and Fire Engine Man by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha – I love these sweet, short books. A little boy talks about his aspirations to be a “train man” or “fire engine man.” (There’s also Digger Man , but I haven’t read that one yet.) I like how the boy is very concerned about his little brother (“My brother is too small to say ‘choo choo,’ but I know he likes trains, too.”). I just really love how innocent these are and the language that is on the level of a 4 or 5 year old.
This Is the Firefighter by Laura Godwin, illustrated by Julian Hector – We got this from the library recently and David enjoyed it (aka we read it 8 million times). It’s about firefighters in an inner city and what happens during a fire. (I did worry that part might scare my kids some, but of course all the people are rescued.) The illustrations reminded me of the ones in Curious George and made me smile.
That’s Not My Train … from Usbourne – Even at over 4 1/2, Libbie still likes the That’s Not My … Usbourne books. They’re great for babies because of all the different textures to touch. Libbie can memorize them and “read” them to David. This one, of course, is David’s favorite.
Easy Street by Rita Gray, illustrated by Mary Bono – This was one of David’s first favorite books. It’s got cute, Claymation-y illustrations about workers making and paving a road with heavy machinery. If you know it, recite with me, “Roll it, roll it, wheels so fat. Roll it down to make it flat!”
Honorable mention: Go, Train, Go and Stop, Train, Stop. Yes, we all have to deal with Thomas the Tank Engine, despite the fact that it’s the worst show in existence except Caillou. (Am I right?) I find these two books to be more tolerable than most of the Thomas-branded ones. There are board book versions, but I feel like they cut out the good parts.
Your turn: what train/vehicle/fire engine books would you recommend?