13 Books About Construction Vehicles

books about diggers and bulldozersIf you are a regular reader you may have noticed that we have been doing more construction themed activities lately and you are only seeing a fraction of what we have been doing at home. My daughter has a serious fondness for bulldozers and just like when her brother fell in love with garbage trucks one of our first things to do is find books with bulldozers and read as much as we can! Below are our favorite books about construction vehicles . Many of these reviews are a few years old and many have been updated to include what my daughter thinks about them as well.

machines at work

Machines at Work by Byron Barton is a bold and bright book that is perfect for toddlers who are obsessed with construction vehicles. The text is brief but effective. My son loved this book as an infant and at 2 still enjoys reading it, aw well as counting the workers and trucks on each page.

My-Big-Book-of-Trucks-and-Diggers

My Big Book of Trucks and Diggers (My Big Book Of… (Chronicle Books) Have you ever walked by construction and seen your child’s face fill with awe? Bulldozers. Backhoes. Graders. Construction vehicles are memorizing to kids, boys and girls. My Big Book of Trucks and Diggers is a sturdy board book with full colour photos of some of those big Caterpillar vehicles. Each spread focuses on one vehicle, offer it’s name in big bold letters with a full image along with a page that focuses on key aspects of the vehicle. You’ll find a close-up of the wheel or the boom ripper. Kids will love testing their knowledge on the vehicle names and the different vehicle parts. I liked that some of the vehicles were ones that I had never heard of (though perhaps construction junkie kids might know them already). Review by Carrie Anne

tip tip dig dig

Tip Tip Dig Dig by Emma Garcia was an instant classic in our house. My son loves vehicles and this book was the perfect length with the right amount of text and awesome almost Eric Carle like illustrations. Usually books about vehicles just name the trucks and diggers but this book shows children not only what they do but how they can work together to make something. Great book for the digger and backhoe obsessed!

road-builders-b-g-hennessy-paperback-cover-art

Road Builders by B.G. Hennessy was a birthday gift for my son’s 4th birthday and he was not interested at first. Maybe because of the plethora of lego that was taking over our house… however it has since become such a favorite he recently “read” it to my sister’s dog. It’s a story all about how a road is built , explaining what the crew does, and how each type of construction vehicle has a different role in building a road.  I like that it explains the process from start to finish, in just the right level of detail for preschoolers.  I also like that there is a female crew member and her participation is seamless. Edited for 2013 – my daughter has become very attached to this book and always wants to know who each road worker is on each page. The fact that there is a female worker has not been lost on her at all.

digger

Barney Backhoe and the Big City Dig by Susan Knopf is a perfect book for your digger obsessed child, but even if your child can’t spot a backhoe from a mile away this book is a cute story about helping people , and the illustrations are filled with things that are found in the city and can spark great discussions with your child . Both of my kids have attached to this story and it spent about 6 months in the car as the favorite book for car rides.

dig-dig-digging

Dig Dig Digging by Margaret Mayo is one of the few books we have that we have bought twice. Our first copy was so well loved that we knew when it could not be read anymore that it would be immediately replaced. This book is imbedded in my brain ( and heart) because both my children have gone through a phase where it’s their absolute favorite. The book takes readers through different vehicles like firetrucks, rescue helicopters and of course bulldozers. The text is repetitive and will get stuck in your head for days but it’s OK because your kids will recite it along with you.

the truck book

The Truck Book by Harry McNaught is another favorite in our house, mostly because it has a forklift in it. There isn’t much of a story, instead it’s a collection of labeled illustrations. If your child is like mine and loves , no obsesses over things that move this is a fantastic book. I admit I get bored reading it even if my son doesn’t. To fight that boredom we play I spy and both of us are happy. Edited for 2013 – This review still stands just replace forklift with bulldozer and son to daughter.

dazzling diggers

Dazzling Diggers (Amazing Machines) by Tony Mitton is part of the Amazing Machines series of books that are favorites of both my kids. Now my son reads them to my daughter and yes my heart bursts when he reads to her and it makes me completely forget when he tackles her.  The book themselves are little gems. This one talks about diggers and bulldozers with absolutely fantastic rhymes. What amazes me about this book is that your child will actually come away having learned something substantial about the vehicles in it at the same time as loving the brilliant rhyming text. Must read for construction vehicle fans.

construction-countdown-k-c-olson-hardcover-cover-art

Construction Countdown by K.C Olson is a counting book that uses backhoes, dump trucks and cement mixers among other things to count. Before I even closed the book my son was signing for more. I read it 4 times since getting it out of the library today. A huge hit here!  <–  That was written in 2008 and now over 2 years later my son still likes this book and has grown with it, now doing the counting all by himself.

Goodnight-Goodnight-Construction-Site

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker will have to be renewed from the library while I wait for my copy to come from Amazon. This book is starting to get pretty popular and rightfully so, it’s a lovely book. In it busy little construction vehicles wind down for the night and fall asleep. I never thought I would say an excavator was cute but the one in the book is. It’s a wonderful bedtime book and your child will enjoy winding down with the sleepy bulldozer and his friends. My daughter completely adores this book.

Good Morning, Digger

Good Morning, Digger  by Anne Rockwell is not going to be put onto my must buy list even though the vast majority of her books are. It just seemed flat and boring. The story follows a vacant lot and the digger that comes it to start construction on what will transform into a community center. There really weren’t any characters and the text seemed unenthusiastic, there was nothing to latch on to and make a real connection with. To make matters worse I think I have to pay a late fee at my library on this one.  Edited for 2010 - we recently read this book at the library and my son as I predicted loves it. I still stand by my review , and as much as I adore this author I am not a huge fan of this book. Edited for 2013 – My daughter loved it when we sat in the corner of the library and read it . Just goes to show that even at a young age it’s important to let kids have some autonomy when it comes to book choice.

I Love Trucks

I Love Trucks! by Philemon Sturges  is about all sorts of trucks from firetrucks, bulldozers, ice cream trucks and of course garbage trucks!  Each page has simple text that gives a brief description of the main action each truck does like roll, dump, dig etc… My son eats this book up even though he enjoys much longer book as well. The illustrations by Shari Halpern ( who also illustrated the previous books) are bright bold and have a cartoon like quality that grabs young children’s attention.

 diggers

Diggers (Usborne Touchy Feely) by Fiona Watt was given to me before I even had kids and it’s been read countless times to both kids. It’s great for toddlers who need to keep their hands exploring while mom or dad reads. It’s a sturdy book with a simple text that matches the great active illustrations.

19 Monster Books For Kids

halloween books for kids Books about monsters can be useful tools for parents while delighting children. These aren’t just books about silly and sometimes scary monsters they are about fear and conquering it.  Just like how children use pretend play to test out adult situations and roles books offer kids a chance to test out scary things in a safe place. Most of these monsters aren’t scary but even the cute ones help your child feel bigger and braver. If you have a favorite monster book that you don’t see here please take a second and leave a comment with the title and why you love it.

Monster Mess! by Margery Cuyler is a silly rhyming book about a monster who isn’t interested in scaring you, but rather cleaning up your messes. Readers follow along as the monster creeps through the house finding messes and tidying up. I personally loved it when the monster stepped on blocks, who reading this with kids hasn’t stepped on toys like Lego and screamed in pain?! I know I do, a lot so that part resonated with me . The illustrations by S.D. Schindler are done at funky angles and perspectives and adds a lot to the text. It’s not scary at all and a great monster choice for more fearful kids.

 Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley. Through the use of die-cut pages, a scary monster is created page by page. But once the monster is complete the reader tells it “You don’t scare me! So go away…” Now each page removes a piece of the scary monster until the end “and don’t come back.” As the child creates and then destroys the monster in the book, page by page, they see that the monster isn’t as scary as they thought. This great interactive approach gives children control of the monster and hopefully helps them to understand and control their own fears. *Reviewed by Carrie Anne
If You’re A Monster And You Know It by Rebecca and Ed Emberley is such a great monster book for families with kids of various ages. This book is a fun rearrangement of the classic children’s song  “If You Are Happy And You Know It” with appropriately monsterish sounds and actions. The illustrations with are all cut paper collages steal the show and you will find yourself reading/ singing along with the book only to go back for a second detailed look at each page. The monsters aren’t super scary but they aren’t fluffy and cute which makes them a perfect match for kids that like monsters but aren’t up to really be scared .
Welcome to Monster Town by Ryan Heshka was a book we judged by it’s cover and it didn’t quite deliver. Now don’t get me wrong it’s a visually amazing book and I think many kids will like it but it wasn’t what we were hoping it would be. The illustrations are so perfect for Halloween. I would love to turn it into a funky poster but we were hoping for a story line and really it didn’t have one. It was a look inside Monster Town that was supposed to feel like a insider look but It felt like an introduction to a really good story, but we never got the story.
Monsters Don’t Eat Broccoli by Barbara Jean Hicks is a really cute book about what monsters will and won’t eat. They will eat wheels and tractors, they will not eat broccoli. My son got into the repeating refrain ” Fum, foe, fie, fee, monsters don’t eat broccoli!”  In the end the monsters are really a set of siblings with all sorts of food on their plates including broccoli. It was fun way of opening up a talk about what foods we like and why trying new things is a good thing. Halloween is filled with treats and I’ll sneak veggies in wherever I can including bedtime reading!
The Very Worst Monster by Pat Hutchins will give you and your child a good laugh. Hazel is a horrible monster but all her family is so busy oohing and awing about how horrid her baby brother is no one notices her. This is a cute story about siblings but these siblings are competing to be the very worst monster! My son thought the monster’s antics were hilarious and I thought the sentiment about siblings was sweet. Cute book!

Twelve Terrible Things by Marty Kelley is horrifying to me, yet my son loves this book. He must have slipped it in our library bag because I have no recollection of choosing this book, and I didn’t pre read it when we got home. By then it was too late, my son was hooked on the dark humor this book delivers. The book offers up 12 terrible things, like a scary clown, a goldfish on it’s way down the toilet and monsters under the bed . The illustrations are all from the reader’s view point so the scary things are looking right at you! I am easily scared , I can’t watch horror film trailers without getting nightmares. I screamed twice reading this , my son just wanted “more more!” . I really don’t recommend this book for young kids although some older ones who like scary things will love it.

My Monster Mama Loves Me So by Laura Leuck is more my kind of monster book for kids. Imaginative illustrations by Mark Buehner kept my little man pointing out spiders, bats and owls and he loved counting the extra eyes and arms on the monsters. The story is really sweet too. It’s all the things a mama monster does throughout the day with her little monster. It’s got a good message about how love can be an action as well as a feeling!

The Monster Princess by D.J. McHale is a story about a monster Lala who so wished she could be a princess only to discover in the end that being herself is even better.  As I was reading this book I was really hoping that the three real princesses that befriend Lala would have more depth and not be the stereotypical mean girls that they are . Even after the mean princesses humiliate Lala she does the right thing and saves them when they are in danger. This book had a very predictable feel to it but I am 35 and have lived through mean girls on film many times and been on both sides of it in real life . To a young child this story is fresh and filled with good messages about doing what is right even when we are angry and hurt, discovering that what we dream about being may not be all it’s cracked up to be as well as my favorite message that there are ” All kinds of special.”

The Book That Eats People  by John Perry makes me laugh hysterically , so hard it was hard at times to read the words but it’s really really gruesome. This is not a book for kids that are squeamish, prone to imaginative nightmares or anxiety about death. That said if your child can handle a little funny horror, they will love this book. The story follows this human eating book as it wreaks havoc and gobbles people up! I beg parents to pre read this because it may be hilarious to me and my macabre little man but it may seriously frighten your child.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is one of those books that makes me cry just when I think of it. If you aren’t familiar with this book it’s not sad. It’s about a little boy who is acting up and gets sent to his room. While in his room his imagination runs wild and he is transported to a world where there are no rules , no parents and no consequences for bad behavior. Ultimately though Max’s heart pulls him back home where he is loved most of all, even when he’s wild. I think this is an amazing love story about parents and children and unconditional love.

Molly’s Monsters by Teddy Slater is a counting book in monster’s clothes. The book is about a little girl named Molly who is just trying to sleep when her room is flooded with monsters. They come in progressively larger groups and my son liked  counting to make sure the text was correct. My favorite part was that the first monster to arrive and the last to leave , never does leave and instead snuggles into bed with Molly. I also like that to get these pesky visitors to leave she turns on the light and makes a scary face and scares them. Clever.

When a Monster Is Born by Sean Taylor is funny, my son didn’t find it as funny as I did but he still laughed and didn’t seem scared any of it. The story is about a monster and all the life changing choices he faces every day like whether to eat a principal or run through a wall of a school. This book feels like a choose your own adventure book, it’s fun , repetitive and silly. There is quite a bit of talk about monsters eating people , though nothing too gory.

Monster Math by Anne Miranda is a math lesson turned into a fun and entertaining storybook. You can simply read the book or you can have your little mathematician help you guess how many new monsters arrive and leave on each page. The illustrations are adorable and even if the math skills are above your toddler or preschoolers heads they will still enjoy the book.

Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody by Michael Rex. We loved this book, as big Goodnight Moon fans we were all laughing reading this before bed. My almost 3 year old thought that this was the funniest book ever made and would correct the book often with the original text .

My Friend the Monster by Elanor Taylor is a sweet and not at all scary look at a friendship between a little fox and the monster who lives under his bed. The monster was left behind by a previous owner of the house that the little fox moves into. This is a sad monster but with a little time and patience the monster and the little fox make new friends and all is well. The monster even gets his own bed in the little fox’s bedroom so he doesn’t have to live under the bed anymore.

Go to Bed, Monster! by Natasha Wing is a book anyone who’s ever struggled with bedtime will instantly relate to. The little girl in the book Lucy isn’t sleepy so she draws a monster but soon his refusal to go to bed even after she is sleepy backfires. I like this book, and despite his refusal to believe the monster was a monster not a dinosaur my son really likes this book and it got read 5 times today!

Leonardo, the Terrible Monster  by Mo Willems Leonardo is a terrible monster. His attempts to scare people only elicits giggles. Then Leonardo has a idea. He decides he’s going to find the most scardy-cat kid in the whole world and scare the tuna salad out of him. But when he does, he doesn’t feel so great. Now he has a new idea, instead of being a terrible monster he will be a wonderful friend. This is another wonderful tale by Mo Willems. The large book format allows for great use of space around his images and words. Mo Willems has the ability to write wonderful children stories that entertain both children and adults alike. * Review by Carrie Anne

Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters by Jane Yolen is a sweet monster book with minimal text and very rich illustrations by Kelly Murphy.  The story is really about the daily wind down and bedtime for two monsters. You and your child will absolutely relate to them on one page or another ( or all). These little monsters are just like our little monsters resisting bedtime, trying to avoid baths… well you know the daily struggle. My daughter was not into the book but my son liked it even though I’d gear it towards the 2-4 crowd. We chose our favorite monsters on each page and found interesting details like the recipe for tentacle soup on the page where the mom is making dinner . Cute, your child will relate to it and it’s not at all scary!

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Favorite Books Of 2010

These are our top 10 favorite books from reviews we did this year. Some are newly published books, some might be your old faves that were new to us in 2010.

It Hurts When I Poop!: A Story for Children Who Are Scared to Use the Potty by Howard J. Bennet was a life saver for us. Many kids start holing their poop after one painful one, and that happened here and we went from no issues to fussing, fighting the potty and finally he admitted he was scared it will hurt. Of course holding it made that worse but try to explain that to a frightened toddler. This book was amazing. The story is long, I skipped some text with my son , but read it all for myself since it’s packed with awesome information for parents too! The book explains digestion, why it hurts and how to make it better on a kids level as well as in more detail for parents. I can’t recommend this more for parents who’s children have hit this very common but very distressing problem.

In the Town All Year ‘Round by Rotraut Susanne Berner is amazing.It’s premise are the comings and goings of a town in all four seasons. There is limited text, which serves only to steer readers to look for specific people in the highly detailed illustrations. Each season has multiple pages and the people remain constant throughout the seasons. So you see inside an apartment building , the town square, the park, railroad station etc… in every season.  You see the changes in town, the progression and of course the distinct weather in each section. The pictures also progress within the seasons, so a fire truck with a flashing light can be seen on every page in one season with the last page showing it getting to the fire . I can’t possibly explain the amazing detail and sheer number of things to find, make up stories about and spark your child’s imagination in this book.  My son adores it. After renewing it multiple times from our library I bought it as his Valentine’s gift.  It goes everywhere with us, perfect for long drives , waits in the Ob’s waiting room and plain old playtime  he picks it up every day and finds something new.

What I really love is that because there is no text but still multiple story lines it’s helped my son to understand that literacy isn’t just about words, it about explaining what’s going on, and reading the pictures too. The absence of text has allowed me to really show him that . Now he has started grabbing books with text and telling me he’d read me the pictures, which boosts both his confidence and his enjoyment of independent reading.

Ballerino Nate by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley   is on my must buy list. I don’t say that often, especially with such a great public library, but this book is wonderful. Nate is a little boy who after seeing a ballet school production with his class at school, decides he too wants to take ballet. Of course his older brother has something to say, and say and say but Nate is pretty confident with the help of his parents , that boys can take ballet.  I love that Nate wants to dance but he hates the idea that he might have to wear pink, clearly pink is not a good thing to him, he just wants to dance.  what I love about this book as a woman who spent more than her fair share of time at a ballet bar in her growing up years, is that it depicts boy dancers well. The stereotype of a “sissy” doesn’t often fit and I knew many boys that danced that were masculine and graceful. I encourage parents of boys and girls to read this, to open our kids horizons to being interested in whatever their heart desires, not to what older brothers, neighbors or anyone else tells them to be.

Road Builders by B.G. Hennessy was a birthday gift for my son in November and he was not interested at first. Maybe because of the plethora of lego that was taking over our house… however it has since become such a favorite he recently “read” it to my sister’s dog. It’s a story all about how a road is built , explaining what the crew does, and how each type of construction vehicle has a different role in building a road.  I like that it explains the process from start to finish, in just the right level of detail for preschoolers.  I also like that there is a female crew member and her participation is seamless .

Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse by Rebecca Janni is everything a children’s book ought to be. It’s clever, cute, and has a great message without being preachy. It’s Nellie Sue’s birthday and the one thing she really wants is a horse. See she is a cowgirl, everything she does she relates back in her imagination to some chore on the farm. When she is cleaning out her guinea pig cage, she is “cleaning the stalls at the barn” and when she is filling her dog’s water bowl she is “filling the trough” . When her birthday surprise isn’t a horse but a bike instead she is a little skeptical but with her imagination and true cowgirl spirit she makes it into the best horse ever! I loved how her parents play along with her imagination but don’t simply get her a horse, rather they present her the bike as if it is one, in her own terms. Great book!

Doctor Meow’s Big Emergency by Sam Lloyd was taken out of the library late last week and has been read at least twice a day since, we both know it off my heart.  In the book readers meet Dr. Meow and her trusty ambulance driver Woof as they care for patience and rush to the aid of Tom Cat who has been injured falling out of a tree. Really it’s a story about being kind to others and forgiving, as Tom Cat learns not to pick on little Mr. Bird and in turn Mr. Bird forgives Tom Cat for his mistakes.  Both my son and I loved the little cheeky details, humor and fun little world that the author illustrator created in this book.

Snowman in Paradise by Michael Roberts is genius. There I said it. I very rarely think that of books. I like the majority of books I read and think there are so many good ones to share but I don’t want to return this one to the library, I want to keep it! The book is about a snowman from Manhattan who is glum after Christmas and wants to go on a vacation too. A magical bluebird grants his wish and he flies first class to a tropical island , with the only rule being he needs to come back in time for Christmas next year. This book is written like the traditional “Night Before Christmas” and although I thought the copy would be too long for my son at first , I was so wrong. The rhymes are unique , my favorite being :

In May after splashing with buckets of paint, He threw down his brush, saying, “Gauguin I ain’t.”

Even if some references are more for the adults reading it than the children listening , both parties will close the book smiling and wanting to start all over again.  Grab it and see why I love it so much!

Baby on the Way by William Sears MD, Martha Sears RN and Christie Watts Kelly  has been the very best baby book we’ve found. It explains much of pregnancy from nausea, to aching feet and even nesting. It also describes labor in a really kid friendly non intimidating way. I love that it explains that in mommy’s belly is a baby holder called a uterus. My son has been asking me how my uterus is since reading this daily for the past week. Explaining contractions, that others will likely be taking care of them for a little while and what mommy is doing when she is not with you is all really useful. It also goes on to explain what babies will do , like nursing, crying and what that funny crinkled thing is on it’s belly!  The book also offers many many resources for expectant parents.


Firefighter Frank by Monica Wellington was a huge score at the library. My son and I both love this author/illustrator and have read many of her books , but this one has never been available, and I can see why. The author has a knack for sharing information with her readers in a fun, simple way that is perfect for preschoolers. This book is no exception to her other great books.  I particularly enjoy some of the vocabulary she uses in this book about Firefighter Frank, words like shrill, intense, and exhausted. They aren’t obscure words but they are not often seen in books geared to those as young as this one, and the context is supportive so that even a young child can help decipher the meaning of the words.  The book itself tells a simple( and common) story but between the author’s ability to tell the story better than other authors, and the bright and beautiful illustrations this books stands out from the firefighter crowd.

One Red Apple by Harriet Ziefert is stunning. I really enjoy this author but most of my praise for this book lands squarely on the illustrator Karla Gudeon’s shoulders. WOW. I just adore the look, and creativity of this book. The story follows the cycle of one apple from orchard, to market back to seed, tree and back into the hands of a child. I enjoy books like this that simply explain the cycles of the natural world to young kids , but you can’t miss this one.  As I turned each page I gasped, it’s one of those books you just need to sit and look at because eqach time you do you find some little detail you missed before.


Post Office Letter Sorting

post office ideas for preschool

I get asked all the time if I throw my son’s creations away. Most do get recycled but one we have used over and over again is our mail box. The other day my son was playing with it when I decided to capitalize on his desire to sort everything and make a letter sorting activity for him. Our letters were sorted by the name on the envelope but you could use numbers and sort it with the zip code , or for even younger kids use different color letters and sort it by color. My son loved this and it even sparked writing a fan letter to his favorite baseball player.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some boxes, paper, scissors, envelopes, pen, plain sticky labels and crayons. 
  2. Start by writing addresses on the letters. If your child is able have them help or write the addresses themselves.
  3. Write 44 cents ( or whatever appropriate stamp amount) on your blank labels.
  4. Time to decorate. My son loved coloring these envelopes. He insisted on doing it all himself. 
  5. While they do that depending on how many boxes you have write out the letters that will go in each box on paper.
  6. Attach them to the boxes.
  7. Next add on the stamps.  My proudest moment of the day came next when my son said we should purposely leave off the stamp and make a do not deliver basket for those letters.
  8. So I made one quickly.
  9. Time to play- I made a simple sign for our post office and our mail box came to play too.
  10. Pop your mail in.
  11. Dump it out.
  12. Sort it.
  13. Deliver it – we delivered it to various rooms of our house.

Book

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Delivering Your Mail: A Book About Mail Carriers by Ann Owen is a simple book about being a mail carrier. The text is to the point and perfect for toddlers and young preschoolers learning about mail carriers for the first time. It focuses on not just what the mail carriers do but how it impacts the reader, which is paramount for young children who see the world through their perspective only. Cute beginner book!