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Cars and trucks and preschoolers who go

Toot, toot! Beep, beep! Vrrrooommm! Move out of the way for these four transportation-themed picture books. With the perfect blend of information and silliness, preschoolers will want to take them out for a spin again and again.

Little TugThe hero of Stephen Savage’s Little Tug isn’t the tallest or the fastest or the biggest boat in the harbor, but he’s very helpful when the other boats need a push, a pull, or a guide. Savage’s illustrations give the boats distinct personalities and provide punch for the story. Tug’s busy day in the harbor will resonate with children, especially toddlers who also spend their days measuring up, helping out, and thoroughly exhausting themselves. (2–5 years, Porter/Roaring Brook)

machines go to work in the cityIn Machines Go to Work in the City by William Low, each illustration introduces a situation involving vehicles, from a garbage truck to a tower crane to an airplane. What happens next? Lift a flap (which provides an extended scene of the problem at hand) and find out. Machinery-loving preschoolers will be drawn to the drama and excitement of the bustling cityscape in Low’s painterly illustrations. (3–5 years, Holt)

What Can a Crane Pick Up?What Can a Crane Pick Up? The answer, according to this book, is anything and everything: “a truck / a train / a car / a plane”? “Men in business suits… / and a load of cowboy boots”? No problem! Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s energetic rhyming text is well matched with Mike Lowery’s engagingly childlike mixed-media illustrations. The images of happy, friendly-looking machines (as well as people, animals, planets, and underpants) are irresistible. (3–5 years, Knopf)

Everything Goes: In the AirIn Everything Goes: In the Air, Brian Biggs’s second transportation celebration (after Everything Goes: On Land), Henry and his parents walk through a busy airport en route to their flight. Their speech-bubble conversation touches on aviation history, modern airplanes, helicopters, hot-air balloons, and blimps. The cheery cartoon illustrations are chock-full of details, with visual surprises on every page. This accessible survey of flight also serves as a handy what-to-expect introduction for young, less-frequent fliers. (4–8 years, Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins)

From the November 2012 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

About Kitty Flynn

Kitty Flynn is consulting editor for The Horn Book, Inc.



  1. Kitty Flynn knows all about kid’s books and I think her recommendations are always fabulous.

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