Beep beep! Honk! Vroom! Books about Trucks
I have two boys of my own and cared for quite a few other boys as a day-care provider (Hi Brendan and Evan!), so I have read lots of truck books. Some of my boys’ favorites were Machines at Work by Byron Barton and Truck by Donald Crews—both of which are still in print today. In fact, I might still be able to recite Machines at Work by heart.
Three great truck books have recently come out, each with a different objective and all promising a fun read for truck enthusiasts.
20 Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street by Mark Lee is a counting book as well as an example of creative problem solving. When an ice-cream truck stalls in the middle of the street, more and more trucks get stuck behind it. A young bike rider starts to count each of the backed-up vehicles, and by the time he gets to the last truck, he has also come up with a handy solution.
Alphabet Trucks by Samantha R. Vamos is, of course, an alphabet book. Not only is a big letter of the alphabet inscribed on each truck, but more of the same letters are included in the illustration. So for example, the dump truck is dumping his load of Ds. Cones in the shape of the letter I are being sold in the ice cream truck. When I first picked up this book, I didn’t expect to learn anything new. And I wasn’t surprised, from the apple truck bringing produce to the store to the yard truck moving pallets and boxes around. Then I hit “Z”, and found out about zipper trucks that move concrete barriers on highways. I am amazed at how they work and thrilled to have learned something new—in a picture book.
Instead of asking “Which truck do you like best?” Digger, Dozer, Dumper by Hope Vestergaard changes that question to “Which truck would you like to be?” The author uses the pronouns “he” and “she” instead of “it”, and the illustrator adds a subtle face to each of the trucks. The poems treat each vehicle like a living creature with specific personalities and preferences and passions. The garbage truck “adores” the sights and smells and sounds of his work. The ambulance “ferries folks to hospitals / with tender loving care.” The dump truck precisely drops its load where it belongs, and the excavator is a smooth operator. This is a great choice for boys who might think that poetry is too sissy.
There are many other wonderful truck books, and I’ve included some of them in the bibliography below.
20 Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street by Mark Lee (ill. by Kurt Cyrus). 9780763658090. 2013. Gr PS-1.
Alphabet Trucks by Samantha R. Vamos (ill. by Ryan O’Rourke). 9781580894289. 2013. PS-1.
Demolition by Sally Sutton (ill. by Brian Lovelock). 9780763658304.2012. Gr PS-1.
Digger, Dozer, Dumper by Hope Vestergaard (ill. by David Slonim). 9780763650780. 2013. Gr PS-3.
Drive by Nathan Clement. 9781590785171. 2008. Gr P-1.
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker. 9780811877824. 2011. Gr PS-1.
I Love Trucks! by Philemon Sturges (ill. by Shari Halpern). 9780060278199. 1999. Gr PS-K.
I Stink! by Kate & Jim McMullan. 9780060298494. 2002. Gr PS-2.
Machines at Work by Byron Barton. 9780694001903. 1987. Gr PS-1.
Truck by Donald Crews. 9780688842444. 1980. Gr PS-1.