One Tiny Turtle, by Nicola Davies
This is a nonfiction book about the life of the loggerhead sea turtle. The text of the story is so beautifully written that it feels like poetry. “Far, far out to sea, land is only a memory, and empty sky touches the water.” When my Five read this to herself, she didn’t like it, but she changed her mind after I read it to her. The book is so interesting and beautiful to look at that we had lots to talk about. Highly recommended!
Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, by Richard Scarry
How can you go wrong with a giant-sized book of Richard Scarry-style transportation? If you’ve never heard of Richard Scarry, then perhaps you are of a younger generation. These were very popular books when I was a kid and for a number of years before that. (I’m in my mid-30’s, if you must know.) These books are excellent for kids to look at on their own because they are overflowing with interesting pictures. They’re also great vocabulary builders because the pictures are all labeled. You might not read this book from beginning to end, but you will love to find something new every time you pick it up. Our library’s copy is quite worn out; this might be a good purchase for my son’s third birthday.
The Tub People, by Pam Conrad
The Tub People line up at the edge of the tub — always in the same order: the father, the mother, the grandmother, the doctor, the policeman, the child, and the dog. They love to play sea captain and have water races– until the horrible day when the Tub Child disappears down the tub drain. This is one of my favorite picture books of all time — so I won’t share the ending in hopes that you read it for yourself! Did I make you feel like you were watching Reading Rainbow? (Whoops – I’m dating myself again.)
Duck in the Truck, by Jez Alborough
I’ve highlighted this book before (see Rhyming Books for Toddlers and Preschoolers). It’s still a favorite of my Two, and he is deeply disappointed when it must be returned to the library. This is a fun rhyming book about a duck whose truck is stuck in the muck… and the animals who help him get out.
From Tomato to Ketchup, by Roberta Basel
We love “how things are made” books. My kids are still quoting from this book. “Did you know that some people put ketchup on eggs and spaghetti?” or “You have to take the air out of ketchup when you make it.” I like the simple explanations and big photographs.
Big Truck and Little Truck, by Jan Carr
This is not my personal favorite because I like my books about trucks to be short. But my Two (almost three) loves this book. And it is certainly well-written with endearing illustrations. Big Truck and Little Truck both work on Farley’s Farm. Little Truck is used to Big Truck’s guidance and instruction — so when Big Truck’s engine won’t start and he leaves for the shop, Little Truck has to manage by himself. It’s a sweet story about learning to be independent.
Trashy Town, by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha
This is a big favorite at our house. Mr. Gilly drives around Trashy Town collecting garbage. After each pick-up we read, “Dump it in, smash it down, drive around the trashy town!” The simple illustrations, predictable text, and of course the subject (trash!) will likely make this a winner at your house, too.
Freight Train, by Donald Crews
Here’s a picture book classic in which vibrantly colored train cars move through a tunnel, by cities, across trestles, and right off the page. This is a great book for teaching about colors and movement.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea, by Judith Kerr
When I can, I like to include at least one older book in my Letter of the Week book lists. This one (published in 1968) is a silly story about a little girl and her mother who are sitting down for tea, when a tiger comes to the door. Sophie’s mother welcomes the polite tiger, who eats and drinks everything in the house! In the end, they go out for dinner — and stock up on Tiger Food should the tiger ever pay them another visit. A bonus about reading older stories is there’s so much opportunity for learning — in this book, what’s a milkman? Why does a boy deliver groceries on a bicycle?
I’m Fast! by Kate & Jim McMullan
Here’s an entertaining read about a train and a car racing to Chicago. This is one of several books by the McMullan author/illustrator team. All my big kids (including my five-year-old daughter) love this story — with the train sound effects, funny text (My Two likes to quote the line “Cows? You gotta moooooove it! Thanks, ladies!”), and staccato rhythm, it’s a hit for kids who love trains and even those who don’t.
It’s a Tiger! by David LaRochelle
Here’s a newer book which is destined to become a read-aloud favorite. The main character runs into (and away from) a tiger throughout the story as the tiger shows up in the silliest of places. Kids will enjoy the chance to yell “A TIGER! RUN!” throughout this lively story.
I’m a Little Teapot, by Iza Trapani
At hour house, we’re big suckers for any book that takes one of our favorite rhymes and adds verses. The teapot shares its dreams with us by reciting adventures of all kinds– fighting a bull in Mexico, meeting an alien in space, singing in an opera, going on a fox hunt… okay, so it’s a bit of a stretch. But we love to sing it!
Little Blue Truck, by Alice Schertle
This is a sweet rhyming book about a friendly blue truck who is loved by all the animals. When the proud, important dump truck finds himself stuck in the mud, he learns the importance of humility and friendship.
The Truck Book, by Harry McNaught
This book has excellent pictures to teach your little truck-lover the names of all different trucks and what they do. I would recommend this for kids who can listen to longer books, but even your younger child might enjoy all the pictures. My Four loved the pictures of the 1935 Wienermobile and milk-bottle shaped Milk Truck. We were excited to find both of them on the Internet. (Here’s one and here’s the other if you want to take a peek!)
Tap Tap Bang Bang, by Emma Garcia
Here’s a fun book about tools just right for young listeners. The pictures are simple, fun sound effects abound, and it’s a big vocabulary builder with the names of all the tools. What’s not to like?
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