Posts Tagged ‘transportation’

Looking back in Time

One of my son’s favorite books to page through recently has been A Street Through Time which is a DK book written by Anne Millard and illustrated by Steve Noon. The “A ______ through time” series is an impressive collection of pages that illustrate what a place looked like at different points in history. Part of the appeal of the book for my son is the larger size, so when opened to a particular page, the street view spans both sides of the pages. This particular book starts at the Stone Age Hunters era (about 10,000BC) and goes through to present time. There are explanations of things to look for around the perimeter of the pages, and locations are labeled in the illustrations. An added bonus is that on each page there’s a hidden time traveler that you can look for (reminds me of the Where’s Waldo Books). This book has been very fun to sit and look at with my sons. There is so much detail on each page as you see the cut-away views inside houses and shops. It has sparked some interesting thoughts about what our street looked like throughout history.

Read Full Post »

July 20th marks the anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landing on the moon.  We found a wonderful book to read to commemorate the day and show our little ones a bit about the momentous day.  Robert Burleigh has written many children’s books, although I hadn’t heard of him before.  It seems most of his books are educational in nature, about historical events or figures. 

One Giant Leap is a picture book for early elementary aged children.  Paintings are by Mike Wimmer and offer a stunning view into what little kids dream about being able to see.  The paintings are very detailed.  I love how many images show the earth off in the distance the way the astronauts would have seen it.  The story is simple but gives the reader a taste for how the men were feeling at the time, and knew what they were doing was big, momentous and had far reaching implications.

My boys loved this book.  The 7 year old was able to read it on his own, and the almost 5 yr old loved listening and finding the earth on each page.  We have also visited the Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. and have seen what the astronauts rode in, so they could connect the pictures to something they had seen in real life.

I highly recommend One Giant Leap for your dreaming astronauts, or for learning about a momentous occasion.

Read Full Post »

As a child, a favorite book of mine was Virginia Lee Burton’s The Little House.  Growing up in a county which was constantly losing it’s farmlands and forests to new housing developments, I empathized with the little house.  I loved that Burton made the text of the words go in the shape of the roads on the facing page, and the details of the city being built up around the house.  I never read any of her other stories until I had my own children.

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel is a timeless classic like The Little House that comes out every now and then and is deeply loved by my kids.  This one is about Mike Mulligan’s steam shovel, Mary Anne who is powerful and strong and a bit prideful but is eventually sidelined for digging jobs by the more powerful diesel engines. 

As in The Little House, the theme of old things being tossed aside for new in the name of progress is evident.  In both stories, both the house, and Mary Anne find new lives and new purpose, despite their age and decrepitude.

The other day I just learned of another of Burton’s books, Katy and the Big Snow. This one is about Katy the snow plow who comes to the rescue of the town of Geoppolis when they are hit with huge amounts of snow.

Katy is the only plow able to dig out the town.  This book has Burton’s signature illustrations weaving from side to side across the page and the lovely detailed drawings.  There isn’t as much of a message about old things becoming new again as in the previous books, but it’s a fun story nonetheless.

Burton has several other books probably of equal quality that I hope to get a hold of soon:  Life Story, Choo Choo, Maybelle the Cable Car, and Calico the Wonder Horse.

Read Full Post »

Oops!  I mislabeled the scheduling of this post so it failed to get published yesterday.  Sorry!


A book that is labeled “noisy pop-up fun” or “with fun vehicle sounds,” you can be sure is going to get on my flop list.  I have found that there are just some toys and books for kids that either are never tested on real children, or my children are all just freaks of nature that don’t fit the “norm”….whatever that is!  Sometimes the idea is cool, but the implementation or mechanism in the item is just so off that it makes the item completely useless, and ends up at the bottom of the toy box or shoved in the back of the shelves and very rarely enjoyed.


So my vote for this week’s Friday Fail is Snappy Sounds:  Vroom. That’s right, folks, not only do you need batteries for every little toddler toy found in stores today, you now need batteries for your toddler’s books!

This book is labeled for 3 and up.  There’s a reason for that…the toddlers who would enjoy the annoying sounds and cutesy pictures, will immediately rip apart the 3-D pop-ups that pop out at them as you turn each page.  So the kid has to be old enough to know not to grab at the pop-up.  But the catch is by then, they also will be too old to enjoy this book at all, because it literally has 4 pages, that you can read with ear piercing sirens and horns wailing at you the entire time you are opened to that page.  Now, I’ll grant that there may be some kids that would be suited for this kind of book.  IF your small toddler is not the kind to grab at things anymore, then maybe you could get through all 4 pages with them intact.  But all it takes is one little grab and the bunny’s head is ripped off.  And yes, I do know this from experience.  IF you enjoy reading to your kid with very loud background sounds as if you’re in the middle of a traffic jam, then this book is for you.  IF you have an older child who will no longer grab the pop-outs but would sit and look at this book on his own because he is obsessed with transportation noises, then this book is for you. IF you enjoy buying batteries for books, then this book is for you…and I notice that there are others in this series.


Otherwise, don’t bother.

Read Full Post »

There are very few alphabet type books that are fun to read.  Dr. Suess’ ABC book is quite possibly one of the best.  But I’ve found a series that is great fun learning, not so much for the alphabet aspect, but for the actual topic.

Jerry Pallotta has a slew of alphabet books that are each about a different topic.  For instance there’s The Beetle Alphabet Book…









The Airplane Alphabet Book…

H is for Hercules Flying Boat.  This huge, all-wood cargo plane is also called the Spruce Goose.  It only flew once, but it still holds the record for having the longest wingspan of any airplane ever built.






Often, Mr. Pallotta is not the only author of the book and he teams up with many different illustrators.  But all of the illustrations are vivid, colorful, and realistic.  He also puts a little humor in his books sometimes, as would be necessary to find words to fit all the letters.

The Icky Bug Alphabet Book.

X is for the marking on the back of this bug.  We could not find a bug whose name began with the letter X.  This bug is called a Cotton Stainer.





One of the favorites in our household of boys is The Construction Alphabet Book.



If you have a kid who has a bit of an obsession with big machines, this one is great because it gives the names and uses for all those machines.  Especially good if you don’t know these things yourself and your kid is always asking “Mommy what’s that called?”  Not that I would know anything about that, of course.



He’s got an alphabet book for every topic!  I’ve put just a sampling of the Alphabet books in My Google Library.  They all have an “alphabet” label.

Jerry Pallotta’s Alphabet Books in my Google Library.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: