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All Things Trucks and Construction

LETS LOOK AT VEHICLES

Bizzy Bear: Let’s Get to Work! by Benji Davies ($6.99, Nosy Crow, ages 1-3) and Tons of Trucks written by Sue Fliess and illustrated Betsy Snyder ($13.99, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, ages 1-4) are reviewed by Rita Zobayan.

                  The world of a toddler is filled with fascination and discovery. Almost everything is viewed with new eyes.  This is true for large vehicles, such as trucks and scoopers —they’re big, loud, and powerful –and a source of wonder for toddlers. The two books featured in this review provide fun, hands-on reading for toddlers to learn more about large vehicles.

Bizzy Bear: Let’s Get to Work! written by Benji Davies (Nosy Crow, 2012; $6.99) is a cute introduction to the goings-on of a construction site. We see Bizzy Bear start his work day by picking up his hard hat and then follow him as he performs different job duties. He operates a number of construction vehicles and uses hand tools, too. This 9-page board book has a kinesthetic activity on every other page that engages young readers (ideal for ages 1-3). Little fingers can help Bizzy scoop a hole and then tip out sand. Presented in a simple rhyme scheme, the text has a sing-song feel that toddlers enjoy hearing over and over again: Bizzy Bear, Bizzy Bear, lending a hand. Bizzy Bear, Bizzy Bear, push that sand!  The illustrations are simple and charming with just enough details to keep a toddler’s attention without overwhelming the young one. Of course, a cast of animal characters adds to the fun. And, lest a parent be concerned that a girl won’t want to read about construction sites and large vehicles, rest assured that my three-year-old daughter enjoys this book immensely.

Have you ever noticed just how many different types of trucks there are? I never had, but Sue Fliess and Betsy Snyder sure have! Their book Tons of Trucks (written by Fliess and illustrated Snyder) explores the variety of trucks and the specific jobs those trucks perform. This fun read provides plenty of hands-on opportunities for young readers to lift, open, fold-out, move and turn flaps to reveal aspects of trucks. See what an army crew truck transports, help a sweep truck clean the streets, and look out for the sticky tar truck! The muted colors and whimsical representations of the trucks and their animal operators are pleasing to the eye. The text is simple and straight to the point. The opening line–Tons of trucks before our eyes, in every color, shape and size—is followed by a naming of the trucks: Milk trucks, fruit trucks, on-the-move trucks! Each page is a discovery into the world of trucks and ends with the trucks and their operators drifting off to sleep, which is an ideal angle to read this book as a bedtime story, too.

Adventure On The Go!

I loved Bizzy Bear Off We Go! ($6.99, Nosy Crow, ages 1 and up) by Benji Davies from the moment I picked it up and noticed that the yellow taxi cab on the cover moves! I pulled on the tab to reveal a green bus and motorcycle passing Bizzy Bear by as he embarks on his adventure by plane, train, and automobile.

Through a series of thick cardboard pages, Bizzy Bear hails a taxi, gets stuck in traffic, hops a train across the river, and catches his plane just in time to make it to the beach, where he goes for a sail on the ocean. Each new mode of transportation introduced offers a movable tab that slides to make the car, traffic, train, plane, or boat move in a creative way. I not only loved this interactive element to what is a cute and colorfully illustrated story, but I also found the narrative easy to read due to its careful rhyme scheme and rhythm. This book makes a perfect read-aloud and tactile activity to do with an infant or toddler. It’s the ideal vehicle for getting your child started on learning about various modes of transportation in a fun way.

Reviewer Karen B. Estrada has 9 years of experience as an English educator teaching students ranging from 6th grade to adult learners. She got her start teaching as a participant of the JET Program, during which she spent 3 years living and teaching in a rural Japanese town of 5000 people.  Since then, Karen has continued to teach English and Writing Skills at various levels in diverse settings such as Harlem, New York City, suburban New Jersey, and semi-rural Maryland. She holds a BA in English from Trinity University in San Antonio, TX and an MA in Teaching of English from Teachers College, Columbia University. Karen is currently taking a short break from teaching as she awaits the arrival of her first child due in late April.

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