Transportation: Picture Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best kids books about transportation?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to transportation. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about transportation.

Our list includes picture books. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid, and you can also use our table of contents to jump to particular topics you think your kid will enjoy.

When it comes to children’s stories about transportation, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things that Go to popular sellers like Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel to some of our favorite hidden gems like Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site.

We hope this list of kids books about transportation can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Top 10 Books About Transportation

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site book
#1
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

There are some “classic” books that are classic for a reason, and for me this is one of them. It’s wildly popular because it’s truly that good. The clever, rhyming text clips along at a great pace and is simultaneously both instructive in its vocabulary and soothing as a going to bed book. The illustrations are phenomenon as well, and simultaneously detailed and beautifully stylized. Even if you don’t particularly love construction vehicles, I think you’d still truly enjoy this book.

The #1 New York Times bestseller As the sun sets behind the big construction site, all the hardworking trucks get ready to say goodnight. One by one, Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, and Excavator finish their work and lie down to rest—so they’ll be ready for another day of rough and tough construction play! With irresistible artwork by best-selling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld and sweet, rhyming text, this book will have truck lovers of all ages begging for more.

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel book
#2
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
Written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A modern classic that no child should miss. Since it was first published in 1939, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel has delighted generations of children. Mike and his trusty steam shovel, Mary Anne, dig deep canals for boats to travel through, cut mountain passes for trains, and hollow out cellars for city skyscrapers — the very symbol of industrial America. But with progress come new machines, and soon the inseparable duo are out of work. Mike believes that Mary Anne can dig as much in a day as one hundred men can dig in a week, and the two have one last chance to prove it and save Mary Anne from the scrap heap. What happens next in the small town of Popperville is a testament to their friendship, and to old-fashioned hard work and ingenuity.

Old MacDonald Had a Truck book
#3
Old MacDonald Had a Truck
Written by Steve Goetz and illustrated by Eda Kaban
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

Super cute and original take on the classic Old MacDonald, jam packed with awesome trucks and other construction vehicles! Super fun to sing or just read out loud and adorable illustrations. I particularly enjoyed when the E-I-E-I-O transitioned throughout the book to different sounds and actions associated with each new truck (E-I-E-I-mow!) and the big reveal at the end of what Old MacDonald and all his helpers created.

Old MacDonald had a farm E-I-E-I-O. And on that farm he had a…TRUCK?! With a DIG DIG here and a SCOOP SCOOP there, this classic folk song just got revved up! Beloved machines—the excavator, dump truck, bulldozer, and more—will have the vehicle-obsessed of all ages reading and singing along.

Violet the Pilot book
#4
Violet the Pilot
Written and illustrated by Steve Breen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

A powerful story about a girl who likes to build things. Ever since she’s been little, she’s been tinkering with household electronics and gadgets; fixing them and learning how they work. Soon she begins building airplanes and learning to fly. Her unusual hobbies, though, make her quite unpopular with the kids at school.

Violet is a science-loving girl inventor with a flair for the air! Fans of Ada Twist, Scientist and Rosie Revere, Engineer will love this classic underdog story by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Steve Breen.

By the time she’s two years old, Violet Van Winkle can engineer nearly any appliance in the house. And by eight she’s building elaborate flying machines from scratch—mind-boggling contraptions such as the Tubbubbler, the Bicycopter, and the Wing-a-ma-jig. The kids at school tease her, but they have no idea what she’s capable of. Maybe she could earn their respect by winning the blue ribbon in the upcoming Air Show. Or maybe something even better will happen—something involving her best-ever invention, a Boy Scout troop in peril, and even the mayor himself!

Heal the Earth book
#5
Heal the Earth
Written by Bart Davis and Julian Lennon and illustrated by Smiljana Coh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This interactive book takes you on an airplane adventure to heal the earth! By pressing buttons and tilting the book, you get to help make the changes. This book is all about being environmentally friendly to help our earth, and it has the most beautiful illustrations!

Take a journey to help the Earth in the second book of the New York Times bestselling trilogy by Julian Lennon! Jump aboard the White Feather Flier, a magical plane that can go wherever you want. This time, Lennon’s interactive book immerses children in a fun and unique journey where they can: Bring medicine to people in need! Dive below the ocean to bleached coral reefs! Visit the city to cultivate green spaces! Help the rain forest return and give its animals a home! Explore the planet, meet new people, and help make the world a better place! The Flier’s mission is to transport readers around the world, to engage them in helping to save the environment, and to teach one and all to love our planet. Just press a button printed on the page, and point the plane up in the air to fly, or down to land it! An inspiring, lyrical story, rooted in Lennon’s life and work, Heal the Earth is filled with beautiful illustrations that bring the faraway world closer to young children. The book includes words to a new, special poem written by Julian Lennon, specifically for Heal the Earth. A portion of the proceeds from book sales will go to support the environmental and humanitarian efforts of the White Feather Foundation, the global environmental and humanitarian organization that Lennon founded to promote education, health, conservation, and the protection of indigenous culture.

Sheep on a Ship book
#6
Sheep on a Ship
Written by Nancy E Shaw and illustrated by Margot Apple
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I love this series! The rhymes are clever and I appreciate the addition of some less common vocabulary (“Sheep collide!”), and of course the illustrations are dynamic and humorous! It’s such a quick, fun read-aloud, with tons of details to appreciate

Captain Small goes sailing, fishes from his boat, goes for an unexpected swim, and braves a storm on the way home.

The Circus Ship book
#7
The Circus Ship
Written and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

After courageously swimming to shore when the ship that they are traveling on sinks and the wretched captain does nothing to rescue them, circus animals find a way to become a valued part of a coastal community.

Charlie's Boat book
#8
Charlie's Boat
Written and illustrated by Kit Chase
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

I love these books by Kit Chase. The illustrations are beautiful and the stories are straightforward and simple. A cute story about friends being inclusive and helping each other out.

Best friends really are the best when they use their imaginations to help each other.

Charlie, Oliver, and Lulu love to play outside together. One fine day they all go fishing, but Charlie doesn’t have much fun—all he can catch are sticks. Next, they build little boats and have a race, but, once again, things don’t go very well. Charlie’s boat comes in last.

Things seem pretty gloomy until Oliver comes up with a plan. They build a special boat they can all play on, together!

Kit Chase offers a sweet ode to friendship in this tale of three best friends who can count on each other to always make play time fun.

Where Do Speedboats Sleep at Night? book
#9
Where Do Speedboats Sleep at Night?
Written by Brianna Caplan Sayres and illustrated by Christian Slade
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Illustrations and rhyming text reveal what sailboats, cruise ships, canoes, and other vessels do to get ready for bed after a hard day’s work.

Little Pig Saves the Ship book
#10
Little Pig Saves the Ship
Written and illustrated by David Hyde Costello
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

It’s hard to be the littlest, but when Little Pig’s siblings all go off to sailing camp and he feels like he’s missing out, his oldest brother and his grandpa do a great job of making sure Little Pig gets to be a little involved too. I appreciated the sweet and strong family relationships, the quality time they spend together and the realization Little Pig has that even though he’s little, he still has something to contribute. The illustrations are sweet as well!

Little Pig is back in Little Pig Saves the Ship! When the sea-faring pigs go a-sailing! Intrepid Little Pig — still the littlest pig in the family — is too little to go to summer camp with his older brothers and sisters. He is left behind with Grandpa and Poppy. Little Pig and Poppy make and sail a toy ship all week, but on Saturday a gusty wind takes the ship into the current, and Little Pig has to use his newfound knot-tying skills to save the day.

A sweetly told intergenerational story about how even the littlest can make a big difference.

Table of Contents
Jump to books about Transportation and...

Books About Transportation and Trucks

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site book
#1
Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site
Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

There are some “classic” books that are classic for a reason, and for me this is one of them. It’s wildly popular because it’s truly that good. The clever, rhyming text clips along at a great pace and is simultaneously both instructive in its vocabulary and soothing as a going to bed book. The illustrations are phenomenon as well, and simultaneously detailed and beautifully stylized. Even if you don’t particularly love construction vehicles, I think you’d still truly enjoy this book.

The #1 New York Times bestseller As the sun sets behind the big construction site, all the hardworking trucks get ready to say goodnight. One by one, Crane Truck, Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, Bulldozer, and Excavator finish their work and lie down to rest—so they’ll be ready for another day of rough and tough construction play! With irresistible artwork by best-selling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld and sweet, rhyming text, this book will have truck lovers of all ages begging for more.

Old MacDonald Had a Truck book
#2
Old MacDonald Had a Truck
Written by Steve Goetz and illustrated by Eda Kaban
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

Super cute and original take on the classic Old MacDonald, jam packed with awesome trucks and other construction vehicles! Super fun to sing or just read out loud and adorable illustrations. I particularly enjoyed when the E-I-E-I-O transitioned throughout the book to different sounds and actions associated with each new truck (E-I-E-I-mow!) and the big reveal at the end of what Old MacDonald and all his helpers created.

Old MacDonald had a farm E-I-E-I-O. And on that farm he had a…TRUCK?! With a DIG DIG here and a SCOOP SCOOP there, this classic folk song just got revved up! Beloved machines—the excavator, dump truck, bulldozer, and more—will have the vehicle-obsessed of all ages reading and singing along.

How to Track a Truck book
#3
How to Track a Truck
Written by Jason Carter Eaton and illustrated by John Rocco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Want a pet truck? Rumble up to this handy guidebook offering everything you need to know. Bone up on habitat: monster trucks like abandoned parking lots; moving trucks live in busy neighborhoods; ice-cream trucks and snowplows migrate in the winter. Pick the right breed for your home (a car transporter in a small apartment would not be a wise choice). Learn to identify your truck by its tire tracks, and soon, with the lure of some orange cones, you’ll have a loyal vehicle following you home, a happy hum under its hood. With an eighteen-wheeler-size nod to pet-care guides, Jason Carter Eaton and John Rocco put young readers in the driver’s seat for a road trip to truck-dreamer bliss.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Cars Galore - Black car, green car, nice car, mean car. Near car, far car. Whoa! Bizarre car! Ready to hit the road? Gear up for a nonstop parade of shapes, sizes, sounds, and even smells in a wild array of cars packed with big personalities, awesome features, and eccentric passengers. Driven by Peter Stein’s bouncing verse, Bob Staake’s high-powered artwork merges vibrant color and crisp, dynamic design with humor, warmth, and whimsy. This rousing excursion is sure to thrill all fans of things that go, as well as aficionados of the illustrator’s signature style.

  2. The Mixed-Up Truck - It’s Cement Mixer’s first day on the job and he doesn’t want to make any mistakes. How can he help the other trucks on the construction site? By mixing some powdery white cement, of course! He mixes it up, adds a little water, and presto . . . a cake?! He must have mixed flour instead of cement. Not to worry, he’ll try again . . . and presto! Frosting?! He’ll keep trying until he gets it just right and it’s time for one more mixing: a bubble bath!

  3. The Road That Trucks Built - Join the ride as a team of adorable vehicles work together to build a new road in this fresh, cement-mixing spin on the classic nursery rhyme, “The House That Jack Built.” This is the traffic that’s moving too slow. Cars and buses have nowhere to go. What is the answer? I’m guessing you know. The trucks need to build a new road! Bulldozers, scrapers, graders, and more are hard at work making sure that every car, truck, and motorcycle can get where they’re going fast! With smooth writing by Susanna Leonard Hill and heavy-duty illustrations by Erica Sirotich, The Road That Trucks Built shows the importance and effectiveness of teamwork in a picture book that’s perfect for on the road readers.

  4. Demolition - Illustrations and rhyming text show the enormous and powerful machines that are used to demolish a building so that a playground can be built.

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Books About Transportation and Boats

Sheep on a Ship book
#1
Sheep on a Ship
Written by Nancy E Shaw and illustrated by Margot Apple
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I love this series! The rhymes are clever and I appreciate the addition of some less common vocabulary (“Sheep collide!”), and of course the illustrations are dynamic and humorous! It’s such a quick, fun read-aloud, with tons of details to appreciate

Captain Small goes sailing, fishes from his boat, goes for an unexpected swim, and braves a storm on the way home.

The Circus Ship book
#2
The Circus Ship
Written and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

After courageously swimming to shore when the ship that they are traveling on sinks and the wretched captain does nothing to rescue them, circus animals find a way to become a valued part of a coastal community.

Charlie's Boat book
#3
Charlie's Boat
Written and illustrated by Kit Chase
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

I love these books by Kit Chase. The illustrations are beautiful and the stories are straightforward and simple. A cute story about friends being inclusive and helping each other out.

Best friends really are the best when they use their imaginations to help each other.

Charlie, Oliver, and Lulu love to play outside together. One fine day they all go fishing, but Charlie doesn’t have much fun—all he can catch are sticks. Next, they build little boats and have a race, but, once again, things don’t go very well. Charlie’s boat comes in last.

Things seem pretty gloomy until Oliver comes up with a plan. They build a special boat they can all play on, together!

Kit Chase offers a sweet ode to friendship in this tale of three best friends who can count on each other to always make play time fun.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Where Do Speedboats Sleep at Night? - Illustrations and rhyming text reveal what sailboats, cruise ships, canoes, and other vessels do to get ready for bed after a hard day’s work.

  2. Little Pig Saves the Ship - The Book Snob Mom - It’s hard to be the littlest, but when Little Pig’s siblings all go off to sailing camp and he feels like he’s missing out, his oldest brother and his grandpa do a great job of making sure Little Pig gets to be a little involved too. I appreciated the sweet and strong family relationships, the quality time they spend together and the realization Little Pig has that even though he’s little, he still has something to contribute. The illustrations are sweet as well!

  3. The Red Boat - Readerly Mom - This would be a great book to read with a child who is moving to a new house or starting a new school. Its simple story and cute illustrations would help facilitate a discussion about how it’s okay to be nervous in a new situation, and it’s okay to rely on friends and things that are familiar, but it’s also wonderful to get to know new friends. I also love the idea that having an active imagination can be a great tool for dealing with things that make us nervous!

  4. Harry and the Jaggedy Daggers - Harry and the Jaggedy Daggers The first charming instalment of the Bottlenose Bay series from award-winning author/illustrator Jan Fearnley. Harry the harbour mouse is heartbroken when his boat is dashed and smashed on the dangerous, mean old rocks - the terrible Jaggedy Daggers! But just as the sea brings mischief, it brings surprises too . . . A story about being brave. Even if you are very small and have only a teacup and a rusty teaspoon. Jan Fearnley is the best-selling author of Mr Wolf’s Pancakes and Arthur and the Meanies. Her beautifully crafted picture books are terrific for sharing and make for popular bedtime stories.

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Books About Transportation and Airplanes

Violet the Pilot book
#1
Violet the Pilot
Written and illustrated by Steve Breen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

A powerful story about a girl who likes to build things. Ever since she’s been little, she’s been tinkering with household electronics and gadgets; fixing them and learning how they work. Soon she begins building airplanes and learning to fly. Her unusual hobbies, though, make her quite unpopular with the kids at school.

Violet is a science-loving girl inventor with a flair for the air! Fans of Ada Twist, Scientist and Rosie Revere, Engineer will love this classic underdog story by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Steve Breen.

By the time she’s two years old, Violet Van Winkle can engineer nearly any appliance in the house. And by eight she’s building elaborate flying machines from scratch—mind-boggling contraptions such as the Tubbubbler, the Bicycopter, and the Wing-a-ma-jig. The kids at school tease her, but they have no idea what she’s capable of. Maybe she could earn their respect by winning the blue ribbon in the upcoming Air Show. Or maybe something even better will happen—something involving her best-ever invention, a Boy Scout troop in peril, and even the mayor himself!

Heal the Earth book
#2
Heal the Earth
Written by Bart Davis and Julian Lennon and illustrated by Smiljana Coh
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This interactive book takes you on an airplane adventure to heal the earth! By pressing buttons and tilting the book, you get to help make the changes. This book is all about being environmentally friendly to help our earth, and it has the most beautiful illustrations!

Take a journey to help the Earth in the second book of the New York Times bestselling trilogy by Julian Lennon! Jump aboard the White Feather Flier, a magical plane that can go wherever you want. This time, Lennon’s interactive book immerses children in a fun and unique journey where they can: Bring medicine to people in need! Dive below the ocean to bleached coral reefs! Visit the city to cultivate green spaces! Help the rain forest return and give its animals a home! Explore the planet, meet new people, and help make the world a better place! The Flier’s mission is to transport readers around the world, to engage them in helping to save the environment, and to teach one and all to love our planet. Just press a button printed on the page, and point the plane up in the air to fly, or down to land it! An inspiring, lyrical story, rooted in Lennon’s life and work, Heal the Earth is filled with beautiful illustrations that bring the faraway world closer to young children. The book includes words to a new, special poem written by Julian Lennon, specifically for Heal the Earth. A portion of the proceeds from book sales will go to support the environmental and humanitarian efforts of the White Feather Foundation, the global environmental and humanitarian organization that Lennon founded to promote education, health, conservation, and the protection of indigenous culture.

I Am Amelia Earhart book
#3
I Am Amelia Earhart
Written by Brad Meltzer and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Presents the life of the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, who mysteriously disappeared in 1937 while attempting to fly around the world.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Fabulous Flying Machines of Alberto Santos-Dumont - Profiles Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, who made great strides in the invention of flight.

  2. Airport - From the excitement of arrival to the wonder of taking off — a picture book that captures in joyous and powerful images all the magic of an airport.

  3. The Airport Book - B is for Bookworm - This book is all about the airport, where it is, what you do there, what an airplane ride is like, etc. This would be a great one to read for children who are about to go on an airplane as it would introduce them to everything that will happen and let them know what to expect.

  4. The Boy and the Airplane - A wordless picture book in which a boy comes up with an inventive solution for getting his toy airplane down from the roof.

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Books About Transportation and Cars

Rattletrap Car book
#1
Rattletrap Car
Written by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Jill Barton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Various disasters threaten to stop Poppa and the children from getting to the lake in their rattletrap car, but they manage to come up with an ingenious solution to each problem.

The Little Red Racing Car book
#2
The Little Red Racing Car
Written and illustrated by Dwight Knowlton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A vintage racing car, walled off in an old barn, is discovered by a boy and rebuilt with his father. Along the way, they discover that the car has a very special history and was once raced by the great Sir Stirling Moss.

If I Built a Car book
#3
If I Built a Car
Written and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

“If I built a car, it’d be totally new! Here are a few of the things that I’d do. . . .” Jack has designed the ultimate fantasy car. Inspired by zeppelins and trains, Cadillacs and old planes, with brilliant colors and lots of shiny chrome, this far-out vision is ready to cruise! there’s a fireplace, a pool, and even a snack bar! After a tour of the ritzy interior, robert the robot starts up the motor . . . and Jack and his dad set off on the wildest test drive ever!

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Little School Bus - Join Driver Bob the school bus driver and his little school bus as they wake early, pick up the children, and drop them off at school. Then it’s off to the garage to fix a tail light. All in a day’s work for this trusty team. The lyrical text, catchy rhyme, and bright pictures make this a perfect choice for preschoolers who are soon to be school bus riders!

  2. The Berenstain Bears and the Big Road Race - B is for Bookworm - This book in the Berenstain Bears series doesn’t have a huge storyline, but it is a fun story about the sure and steady winning the race! This could be a great starter to talk about good sportsmanship, and it’s a fun read.

  3. All the Way to Havana - A boy helps his father keep their very old car running as they make a trip to Havana for his newborn cousin’s zero-year birthday. Includes author’s note about cars in Cuba.

  4. The Little Auto - Mr. Small has a shiny red auto. On nice days, Mr. Small takes his car out of the garage and goes for a drive. He can drive fast enough to pass a horse and buggy! He runs into trouble when it begins to rain and he gets a flat tire. But he is able to fix the tire, the sun comes out, and Mr. Small drives his little auto back into the garage.

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Books About Transportation and Vehicles

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel book
#1
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
Written and illustrated by Virginia Lee Burton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

A modern classic that no child should miss. Since it was first published in 1939, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel has delighted generations of children. Mike and his trusty steam shovel, Mary Anne, dig deep canals for boats to travel through, cut mountain passes for trains, and hollow out cellars for city skyscrapers — the very symbol of industrial America. But with progress come new machines, and soon the inseparable duo are out of work. Mike believes that Mary Anne can dig as much in a day as one hundred men can dig in a week, and the two have one last chance to prove it and save Mary Anne from the scrap heap. What happens next in the small town of Popperville is a testament to their friendship, and to old-fashioned hard work and ingenuity.

Everything Goes: In the Air book
#2
Everything Goes: In the Air
Written and illustrated by Brian Biggs
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Follows Henry and his father through an airport as they see and talk about different forms of air transportation, including airplanes, helicopters, and hot air balloons.

Everything Goes: On Land book
#3
Everything Goes: On Land
Written and illustrated by Brian Biggs
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Cars and trucks and bikes and trains! Rvs and construction vehicles too! Everything goes Ride along with Henry and his dad as they visit the big city and check out all the amazing vehicles around them. Full of mini-story lines, endless seek-and-find activities, and hundreds of funny details, Everything Goes: On Land is an interactive book that provides hours of fun!

Honorable Mentions
  1. Everything Goes: By Sea - Everything Goes: By Sea, the third picture book in the Everything Goes series of picture books, board books, and I Can Reads, is a wonderful celebration of sailboats, submarines, and many other interesting sea vehicles. Featuring fun mini–story lines, seek-and-find activities, tons of hilarious details, and cool cutaways, Everything Goes: By Sea is an interactive book that provides hours of fun!

  2. The Three Little Rigs - “Little rig, little rig, let me come in!” “Not by the chrome on my chinny chin chin.” “Then I’ll crash and I’ll bash and I’ll smash your house in.” When the three little rigs set out to build their own garages, each one thinks that his is going to be the strongest. But then the big bad wrecking ball comes to call and threatens to smash their new homes to smithereens. The brothers learn that it’s only by bravery and teamwork that they can win the day. A comic sequel to the ugly truckling.

  3. Night Light - Count the nighttime lights on a train, a helicopter, a fire truck, and seven more vehicles in this bold picture book with die-cut surprises. 1 light, shining bright? A train! 7 lights, flashing red and white? A fire truck! And so on all the way to ten lights. Part guessing game, part counting book, NIGHT LIGHT is a boldly imagined book for the preschool child who loves cars, trucks, and anything that goes. With die-cuts on every other page, this rhyming story features vehicles and counting, combining a high interest preschool subject with important preschool concepts.

  4. McToad Mows Tiny Island - McToad likes Thursdays. Why? Because on every other day of the week, McToad mows Big Island, but on Thursdays, McToad mows Tiny Island. To do so, he puts his mower on the back of a truck, which drives to a train, which goes to a helicopter, which flies to a boat, which uses a crane to put the lawn mower onto Tiny Island. There McToad mows and drinks some lemonade, and before you know it, it’s time to turn around and go back home. But first, the mower has to get lifted by a crane, to get put back on a boat, which is lifted by a helicopter, and . . . well . . . you get the idea.

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Books About Transportation and Trains

The Little Train book
#1
The Little Train
Written and illustrated by Lois Lenski
picture book
Recommend Ages: 1-2

In a new board book edition of the delightful story, Engineer Small at the throttle takes the little train on its run from Tiny Town to the big city.

Thomas the Tank Engine Story Collection book
#2
Thomas the Tank Engine Story Collection
Written by Rev. W. Awdry and illustrated by John T. Kenney and C. Reginald Dalby
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A collection of fourteen previously published stories featuring Thomas, Sir Topham Hat, and their railway friends.

The Secret Subway book
#3
The Secret Subway
Written by Shana Corey and illustrated by Red Nose Studio
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Goodfather

The Secret Subway is both very engaging and enjoyable. It entertains readers while also educating them about this fascinating piece of New York City subway history. The illustrations are unique and wonderfully match this tale of an inventor’s ambitious undertaking.

“New York City in the 1860s was a mess- crowded, disgusting, filled with garbage. You see, way back in 1860, there were no subways, just cobblestone streets. That is, until Alfred Ely Beach had the idea for a fan-powered train that would travel underground. On February 26, 1870, after fifty-eight days of drilling and painting and plastering, Beach unveiled his masterpiece-and throngs of visitors took turns swooshing down the track. The Secret Subwaywill wow readers, just as Beach’s underground train wowed riders over a century ago.”

Honorable Mentions
  1. Down by the Station - Did you ever wonder who rides the zoo train early in the morning? Climb aboard and join the mischievous, sleepy, and playful baby animals on their way to the children’s zoo. The engineer has to get them there before the first busload of children arrives . . . but these baby animals just want to have fun! This delightful adventure full of mishaps, daring rescues, and a runaway red balloon has a cumulative text and playful animal noises that will have readers singing along-if they’re not racing to the zoo to ride the train themselves.

  2. Alphabet Trains - All aboard for a train ride through the alphabet! Whether chug-chug-chugging up a mountainside in an Incline train or zipping at super speed in a Bullet train, trains will get you where you need to be—A to Z! There is a train—some familiar and some unusual—for every letter of the alphabet. Trains are used all over the world for carrying people and cargo from place to place. With a bouncy rhyming text, and clever illustrations full of visual cues, young readers will love learning all about trains.

  3. Choo Choo / Chuu chuu - What could be more fun than an old-fashioned train ride? Off go the passengers, past the town, into the woods (shhh, shhh), over the bridge (clack, clack), into the tunnel (toot, toot), and back into the sunshine. Where is this train headed? Turn the shaped pages to find out!

  4. Night Train - This cinematic book takes readers along on a steam engine’s journey through the night, from a city to a small town. Varied landscapes as well as color shifts show the passage of time from dusk to night to dawn. The rhythmic text is perfect for bedtime reading, and train lovers young and old will appreciate the various railway details incorporated in the text and art. Night train wakens to the dusk, groggy, stretching, load and roll, load and roll. Bringing warmth and wonder to the night, this book will send young readers off to sleep dreaming of the steady train journeying through the night.

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How about children's books about trains?

Books About Transportation and Animals

Ready, Set, Build! book
#1
Ready, Set, Build!
Written by Meg Fleming and illustrated by Jarvis
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Grab your hard hat and get ready for a day of construction fun with a busy builder and his friend!

Grab your hard hat, tie your boots.

Pack your lunch. Ready? Scoot!

Sketch a dream. Post a chart.

Hatch the plan before you start.

Get ready for a day full of construction fun! Children can follow a busy dog builder as he sketches and plans his dream, clears rubble to make space, and gets to work digging, lifting, and sawing. He builds a house for himself and his bird friend, and satisfied after a hard day’s work, they takes in all they’ve done and look forward to the next day of building!

Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever book
#2
Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever
Written and illustrated by Richard Scarry
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Welcome to Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever! Featuring everything from an airport to a grocery store, this fun-filled book has hundreds of objects clearly labeled so that little readers can expand their vocabularies. In print for fifty years, this classic book has sold over 5 million copies around the world and brought billions of new words to little ones across the globe. Learning has never been more fun!

Cycle City book
#3
Cycle City
Written and illustrated by Alison Farrell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

When little Etta the Elephant goes to her Aunt Ellen’s house, she takes a journey through bicycle-filled Cycle City, a town filled with bikes of all kinds! At the end of the day, a special surprise awaits Etta—the most amazing bicycle parade imaginable. Detail-rich illustrations in this fun seek-and-find book paint the colors of this unusual town where everyone rides some kind of bike—whether a penny-farthing, a two-wheeled unicycle, or a conference bike, everyone is on wheels! Packed with prompts and lots to see on every page, this is a sweet story for the sharpest of eyes.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Snail Mail - A long, long time ago, before email and texting, the mail was delivered in a much slower way-it was called Snail Mail (because some thought it was delivered by a snail). Although it took much longer, everyone agreed that letters were a little more special when they were delivered by Snail Mail. They might be handwritten. They might include a drawing. They might even contain a surprise inside! One such letter was sent by a Girl to the Boy she loved, and it was up to four special snails to deliver her card across the country. The snails trek across the country-through desert heat and dangerous blizzards, across mountains and plains, through cities and forests-and along the way, they find that taking time to slow down and look around makes the journey all the more beautiful. Snail Mail’s playful and educational story encourages kids to have slow living, and to approach life with determination and wonder. Julia Patton’s rich illustrations showcase America’s diverse terrain and national monuments from coast to coast. Kids and parents alike will delight in this celebration of America’s beauty and the power of a simple handwritten letter.

  2. Ready, Set, Sail! - Join these sailors as they explore the sea during a fun day of sailing in this follow-up to Ready, Set, Build! Shout your orders loud and fast. “Hoist the mainsail up the mast!” Grab your life vest, hold on to your compass, and get ready for a day full of sailing fun with a playful tiger and turtle! Follow these salty sailors as they raise their anchor, cast off, and explore the sea in their little sloop. And after a long day of sailing, they gather and tell tales of all the things they’ve seen!

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Epilogue

12 books that are just too good to leave off of our transportation list.

  1. Three Bears in a Boat - From the co-creator of the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series comes a high seas adventure inspired by the classic picture books Little Bear and Where the Wild Things Are. Three bear siblings break their mother’s favorite blue seashell, and rather than tell her, they decide to set out in their sailboat to find her a new one. On their quest they encounter salty sailors, strange new islands, huge whales, and vast seas but no blue seashells. When a treacherous storm suddenly blows in, the three bears find themselves tossed about in their little boat, far from Mama. What will become of their search, and what will it take to bring them safely home? This read aloud shares its best qualities with classic picture books: breath-taking illustrations, epic adventure, and a subtle message about taking responsibility for your actions.

  2. Old MacDonald Had a Boat - Old Mac and Mrs. Mac are at it again! This time, these DIY-happy farmers wield a host of noisy tools—from hammers to sanders, and even a blowtorch—to soup up their rusty old fishing boat. With a BANG BANG here and a BUZZ BUZZ there, this silly, summery sequel to the wildly popular Old MacDonald Had a Truck is sure to make a splash—and have the whole family singing along.

  3. The Antlered Ship - An inquisitive fox named Marco and a bored flock of pigeons join the crew of deer Captain Sylvia, setting sail in her antlered ship in search of a wonderful island and finding friendship on the way.

  4. Boats on the Bay - Readerly Mom - I was all hearts-for-eyes emoji over this book as soon as I picked it up in the bookstore, and I haven’t stopped loving it. My three-year-old feels the same way. It’s fun to look at and quick to read, making it easy to read over and over again. There’s a lot to discuss in it too—we like to identify specific places, talk about what the various people are doing, and notice opposites. Yes, we definitely love it a little extra because we live in the San Francisco Bay Area and the illustrations prominently feature the bridges, islands, buildings, and horizons we know and love, but children and adults from anywhere will enjoy the beautiful illustrations and descriptions of many different types of boats.

  1. Hello, Airplane! - Illustrations and easy-to-read text follow an airplane as it says good-bye to the ground and hello to the sky, where it flies over a town, mountains, clouds, and people.

  2. What Kind of Car Does a T. Rex Drive? - Uncle Otto is a used car salesman, who, with the help of his niece and nephew, finds the perfect vehicles for his dinosaur customers.

  3. Alphabet Boats - Discover twenty-six types of vessels, from the more common — canoe and motorboat — to the unusual — umiak and Q-boat. Just like in Alphabet Trucks and Alphabet Trains, colorful art includes the letters of the alphabet hidden (and not-so-hidden) in supporting roles in the illustrations.

  4. Planes Fly! - Illustrations and easy-to-read rhyming text celebrate different kinds of planes, their instruments, what they carry, and what it is like to go for a flight.

  1. Ocean Meets Sky - It’s a good day for sailing. Finn lives by the sea and the sea lives by him. Every time he looks out his window it’s a constant reminder of the stories his grandfather told him about the place where the ocean meets the sky. Where whales and jellyfish soar and birds and castles float. Finn’s grandfather is gone now but Finn knows the perfect way to honor him. He’ll build his own ship and sail out to find this magical place himself! And when he arrives, maybe, just maybe, he’ll find something he didn’t know he was looking for.

  2. Everything I Know About Cars - Stop! What’s Your Car I.Q.? The fastest kind of car: A. A jet-powered dragster B. An invisible spy car C. Any car that is red and has flames painted on the sides Cars were invented by: A. Karl Benz B. Professor Flubber C. Two horses in Ohio who got tired of carrying people around all day Souped-up cars are made with what kind of soup? A. Chicken noodle B. Pea C. No actual soup is used Answers inside!

  3. Maisy Goes On a Plane: : A Maisy First Experiences Book - What’s it like to travel by plane for the first time? Little flyers are in good company with Maisy leading the way. Maisy is going to visit her friend Ella, and she is taking a plane to get there. She’s very excited! Join the mouse as she checks in at the airport, finds her seat (by the window!) and makes some new friends on her flight. From the whoosh at takeoff to waiting in line for the bathroom, from buckling seat belts to arriving in a whole new wonderful place, flying is more fun with a friend like Maisy on board.

  4. Vincent Comes Home - Jessixa Bagley, author and illustrator of Laundry Day, Before I Leave, and Boats For Papa (winner of the 2016 SCBWI Golden Kite Award for best picture book text) and Aaron Bagley (illustrator of Rocking Fatherhood) have been drawing and writing together since they met in art school more than a decade ago. What started off as a courtship of doodling in sketchbooks and belching in lockers soon turned into a marriage of doodling in sketchbooks and belching with their son. Their artistic partnership is a balanced collaboration of overlapping their individual styles and painting techniques—creating one cohesive language. Vincent Comes Home is their first picture book together. And much like Vincent, they have moved around a lot but their home has always been each other.

Did you enjoy our transportation book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!