Vehicles: Books For Kids

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

The great poet Emily Dickinson once wrote that there is “no frigate like a book to take us lands away.” While your budding reader might not yet know that a frigate is a type of ship, she or he might already be fascinated with the vehicles of transportation that surround us in this busy world of movement. Whether your baby’s first noise was imitating the “vroom vroom” of a motorboat or your 9 to 10-year-old (4th or 5th grader) is showing an interest in cars, we have books to fuel those interests, from beginner board books to picture books to chapter books.

This extensive list of the top children’s books about vehicles covers the whole gamut of transportation, be it planes, trains, submarines, cars, trucks, bikes, and more. These books are sure to transport your kids, whatever their desired mode of travel. Browse the full list or use the table of contents to jump to a specific subtopic of vehicle that your reader loves!

Top 10 Books About Vehicles

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets book
#1
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Written by J. K. Rowling and illustrated by Mary GrandPré
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the summer after Harry’s first year at Hogwarts has been his worst summer ever… the Dursleys more distant and horrible than ever before. But just as he’s packing his bags to return to school, a creature named Dobby the house-elf announces that if Harry goes back to Hogwarts, disaster will strike. And it turns out, Dobby is right. Harry and Ron miss the Hogwarts Express, so they fly to school in a blue Ford Anglia, crash landing in the notorious Whomping Willow. Soon other worries accumulate: the outrageously stuck-up new professor Gilderoy Lockhart; a ghost named Moaning Myrtle, who haunts the girls’ bathroom; the strange behavior of Ron’s little sister, Ginny Weasley; rumors about the “Chamber of Secrets,” a cavern buried deep below Hogwarts; and a magical diary owned by Tom Riddle, a Hogwarts student of long ago. Harry is also shocked to discover that he can speak Parseltongue, the language of snakes - a rare ability that Lord Voldemort also possessed - and that anti-Muggle prejudice exists in the Wizarding world, even affecting Harry’s friend Hermione. But all of these seem like minor concerns when someone starts turning Hogwarts students to stone: an evildoer said to be the fearsome Heir of Salazar Slytherin, on of the founders of the school. Could it be Draco Malfoy, Harry’s most poisonous rival? Could it be Hagrid whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one person everyone at Hogwarts most suspects: Harry Potter himself?

McToad Mows Tiny Island book
#2
McToad Mows Tiny Island
Written by Tom Angleberger and illustrated by John Hendrix
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

I wrote this book off when I first read it, but my son immediately took to it. He asked to read it over and over again. I found that with each iteration I actually enjoyed the book more and more (which is untrue of many books). The story follows a cheerful McToad who goes to great lengths to mow Tiny Island each Thursday. To reach the island he must transport his lawnmower by airplane, boat, helicopter, and train which seems like a great deal of effort, but not for McToad who seems to enjoy every minute of the journey.

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.

Little Blue Truck book
#3
Little Blue Truck
Written by Alice Schertle and illustrated by Jill McElmurry
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Beep! Beep! Beep! Meet Blue. A muddy country road is no match for this little pick up—that is, until he gets stuck while pushing a dump truck out of the muck. Luckily, Blue has made a pack of farm animal friends along his route. And they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get their pal back on the road. With a text full of truck sounds and animal noises to read aloud, here is a rollicking homage to the power of friendship and the rewards of helping others.

Amelia Earhart book
#4
Amelia Earhart
Written by Isabel Sanchez Vegara and illustrated by Mariadiamantes
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Love this book! I love the illustrations, they are beautiful. This book does a great job of telling Amelia Earhart’s story and highlighting important things she accomplished. I love a book with a great female lead! :) I particularly loved that the ending didn’t go into the details of her going missing, but still accurately said didn’t return.

Meet Amelia, the fearless female flier! Now available as a board book in the Little People, Big Dreams series, this inspiring and informative little biography follows the life of Amelia Earhart, from her childhood as a tomboy to becoming the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean to her eventual disappearance. With stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, this empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world. From designers and artists to scientists, all of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. These books make the lives of these role models accessible for children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site book
#5
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.

Steam Train, Dream Train book
#6
Steam Train, Dream Train
Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

Gorgeous illustrations, wonderful cadence and lots of excellent train vocabulary to boot. This one is a joy to read again and again, and is simultaneously upbeat and soothing.

An unabridged board book version of the bestselling hardcover, perfect for small hands! The dream train pulls into the station, and one by one the train cars are loaded: polar bears pack the reefer car with ice cream, elephants fill the tanker cars with paints, tortoises stock the auto rack with race cars, and kangaroos stuff the hopper car with balls (while zebras referee). Dreamy illustrations and gentle rhyming text make this a beloved bedtime favorite for budding train enthusiasts everywhere.

Ahoy, Li'l Buccaneers! book
#7
Ahoy, Li'l Buccaneers!
Written by Mark Iacolina
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Buccaneers sail. Buccaneers steer. Buccaneers grumble, snarl, and sneer.

Hardy har har! Calling all Li’l Buccaneers to set sail on a fun adventure, filled with dancing, singing, sparring, and treasure hunting. Young swashbucklers and their pirate pals are guaranteed a mighty good time with this delightfully rip-roaring, rhyming board book.

This Is the Firefighter book
#8
This Is the Firefighter
Written by Laura Godwin and illustrated by Julian Hector
board book
Recommend Ages: 5-6
Thoughts from Grammy

I love this book! The catchy, rhyming verse keeps readers moving through the action with a sense of purpose, no hesitating as the firefighters rush into burning buildings to bring people out. In boldly drawn illustrations in primary colors with black and white the firefighters are shown moving through all their responsibilities from preparation, to fire fighting, to heading back to the station. There is a little dalmatian to be spotted on nearly every page. I love the way this book teaches respect for people in dangerous first-responder jobs.

The fire alarm sounds. The firefighter jumps in the truck and races to a daring rescue! Get ready for an adventure as Laura Godwin and Julian Hector celebrate one of our bravest everyday heroes in this board-book edition for little hands. Praise for This is the Firefighter (hardcover edition) “With its swift action, catchy verse, and appropriate palette (red, white, blue, and flame), this should find good use among preschool vehicle enthusiasts and new readers as well as in the ‘community helpers’ unit.” -The Horn Book

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel book
#9
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
#10
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.

Books About Vehicles and Cars

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets book
#1
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Written by J. K. Rowling and illustrated by Mary GrandPré
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the summer after Harry’s first year at Hogwarts has been his worst summer ever… the Dursleys more distant and horrible than ever before. But just as he’s packing his bags to return to school, a creature named Dobby the house-elf announces that if Harry goes back to Hogwarts, disaster will strike. And it turns out, Dobby is right. Harry and Ron miss the Hogwarts Express, so they fly to school in a blue Ford Anglia, crash landing in the notorious Whomping Willow. Soon other worries accumulate: the outrageously stuck-up new professor Gilderoy Lockhart; a ghost named Moaning Myrtle, who haunts the girls’ bathroom; the strange behavior of Ron’s little sister, Ginny Weasley; rumors about the “Chamber of Secrets,” a cavern buried deep below Hogwarts; and a magical diary owned by Tom Riddle, a Hogwarts student of long ago. Harry is also shocked to discover that he can speak Parseltongue, the language of snakes - a rare ability that Lord Voldemort also possessed - and that anti-Muggle prejudice exists in the Wizarding world, even affecting Harry’s friend Hermione. But all of these seem like minor concerns when someone starts turning Hogwarts students to stone: an evildoer said to be the fearsome Heir of Salazar Slytherin, on of the founders of the school. Could it be Draco Malfoy, Harry’s most poisonous rival? Could it be Hagrid whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one person everyone at Hogwarts most suspects: Harry Potter himself?

Rattletrap Car book
#2
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
#3
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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks from A to Z. - A miniature vehicle-filled alphabet book that starts with an ambulance and ends with a zippermobile is shaped like Lowly Worm’s applemobile. On board pages.

  2. Little Blue Truck Leads the Way - Zooom! Wooeeee . . . ! “Make way!”The big city sure is a speedy, noisy place for a country truck like Blue. Everywhere Blue looks, he sees buses, police cars, taxis, vans, a street sweeper, and even the mayor’s limousine. With everyone pushing to be first, soon there’s a giant traffic jam! But even a wrangle-tangle is no match for Little Blue Truck, who comes to the rescue in true Blue style. Brimming with bright colors, sounds, and city energy, this adventure makes working together and taking turns more fun than ever. Now with a free downloadable party kit!

  3. TouchThinkLearn: Vehicles - The Book Snob Mom - The style of this book with the raised portions that fit beautifully into the page opposite is so fun for little hands to explore, and the breadth of vehicles from double-decker buses to trains to rocket ships is broad and fun! I really enjoy that because there are only a few vocabulary words without explanation provided per page, my toddler and I get to have an interactive experience reading this book and we can choose different parts to explore each time depending on our mood and the speed we’re going at!

  4. 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.

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Books About Vehicles and Airplanes

Amelia Earhart book
#1
Amelia Earhart
Written by Isabel Sanchez Vegara and illustrated by Mariadiamantes
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Love this book! I love the illustrations, they are beautiful. This book does a great job of telling Amelia Earhart’s story and highlighting important things she accomplished. I love a book with a great female lead! :) I particularly loved that the ending didn’t go into the details of her going missing, but still accurately said didn’t return.

Meet Amelia, the fearless female flier! Now available as a board book in the Little People, Big Dreams series, this inspiring and informative little biography follows the life of Amelia Earhart, from her childhood as a tomboy to becoming the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean to her eventual disappearance. With stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, this empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world. From designers and artists to scientists, all of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. These books make the lives of these role models accessible for children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!

Violet the Pilot book
#2
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
#3
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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. I Am Amelia Earhart - 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.

  2. Airplane Flight! - In the cockpit Captain Bright Makes sure everything works right. Wing flaps open. Wing flaps close. Lights shine bright on tail and nose. Susanna Leonard Hill’s rhythmic text and Ana Martin Larranaga’s simple but enticing art will take young readers on an exciting airplane ride! Kids can lift the10 flaps throughout the book to make their flying and reading experience more fun! Fasten your seatbelt and fly above the sky with this interactive book that’s shaped like an airplane. This format is perfect for young children who are going on a plane for the first to one-hundredth time!

  3. Amazing Airplanes - Buckle up to learn all about flying! Amazing Airplanes follows the animal crew, as they become pilots, baggage handlers, and air stewards. Each page is filled with details that machine-mad kids love, such as the cockpit, landing gear, and much more. This book now in chunky board book format is perfect for budding pilots or happy vacationers! From airplanes to fire engines, the internationally bestselling Amazing Machines series is the perfect way for children to learn about all sorts of vehicles! Each book introduces a new vehicle and the jobs it can do. Bright, engaging artwork and simple, rhyming text combine to make these fantastic books for young children. Kids will love getting to know the friendly, animal characters who feature throughout the series and reading about their fast-paced adventures!

  4. Planes Go - The helicopter goes, “PITTATATATA PITTATATATA PITTATATATA.” The jumbo jet goes, “Wheeeeeeeee VRRRRRRRRRRUUUHHHHHHHHHMMM.” The propeller plane goes, “HUK HUK HUK WHIRRRRRRR WHIRRRRRR.” Prepare for liftoff with 8 exciting aircraft and the noises they make in this irresistible board book! The long, oversized format lends itself to the shape of the vehicles and stands out on the shelf, and the boisterous text begs to be read aloud.

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Books About Vehicles and Tractors

McToad Mows Tiny Island book
#1
McToad Mows Tiny Island
Written by Tom Angleberger and illustrated by John Hendrix
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from Mr. Staccato

I wrote this book off when I first read it, but my son immediately took to it. He asked to read it over and over again. I found that with each iteration I actually enjoyed the book more and more (which is untrue of many books). The story follows a cheerful McToad who goes to great lengths to mow Tiny Island each Thursday. To reach the island he must transport his lawnmower by airplane, boat, helicopter, and train which seems like a great deal of effort, but not for McToad who seems to enjoy every minute of the journey.

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.

Big Book of Tractors book
#2
Big Book of Tractors
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Open the giant fold-out pages to discover some of the biggest and most amazing tractors ever built - from the world’s largest tractor to huge harvesting machines and monster polar vehicles.

That's Not My Tractor book
#3
That's Not My Tractor
Written and illustrated by Fiona Watt
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

This text features interesting textures to feel, such as smooth paintwork or bumpy tyres. The combination of simple text, illustrations and things to feel will help very young children develop sensory and language awareness.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Meet the Tractors - Meet Hendrix and his friends, a group of personalised vintage tractors all getting up to their own adventures. In a series of childrens stories they’ll tell you all about them!

  2. Goodnight Tractor - A whimsical bedtime series by the author of How to Wash a Woolly Mammoth pairs fun-filled rhymes and exuberant illustrations that invite little dreamers to wish their favorite things a sweet goodnight.

  3. Where do Digger's Sleep at Night? - Getting to dreamland has never been more fun with this board book version of the beloved construction bedtime tale. The bedtime rituals of these little diggers and dump trucks will be quite familar to kids saying goodnight. Young readers will surely identify with little fire engines, tractors, and monster trucks as they ask for one more story while their mommy trucks tuck them in, and their daddy trucks sing a goodnight song. Children who can’t get enough of trucks and other vehicles will love Brianna Caplan Sayres things-that-go…to sleep books, including companion titles Where Do Steam Trains Sleep at Night, and Where Do Jet Planes Sleep at Night?

  4. Duck on a Tractor - Pleased with his success in riding a bike, Duck decides to drive the farm tractor, and invites all the other farm animals along for the ride—all the way to town.

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Books About Vehicles and Boats

Ahoy, Li'l Buccaneers! book
#1
Ahoy, Li'l Buccaneers!
Written by Mark Iacolina
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Buccaneers sail. Buccaneers steer. Buccaneers grumble, snarl, and sneer.

Hardy har har! Calling all Li’l Buccaneers to set sail on a fun adventure, filled with dancing, singing, sparring, and treasure hunting. Young swashbucklers and their pirate pals are guaranteed a mighty good time with this delightfully rip-roaring, rhyming board book.

The Star Thief book
#2
The Star Thief
Written by Lindsey Becker
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

The constellations come to life in this imaginative fantasy adventure debut. Honorine’s life as a maid at the Vidalia mansion is rather dull, dusting treasures from faraway places and daydreaming in front of maps of the world. But everything changes when she catches two brutish sailors ransacking Lord Vidalia’s study, and then follows a mysterious girl with wings out into the night…. Suddenly, Honorine is whisked into the middle of a battle between the crew of a spectacular steamship and a band of mythical constellations. The stars in the sky have come to life to defend themselves against those who want to harness their powers. Much to her surprise, Honorine is the crux of it all, the center of an epic clash between magic and science, the old ways and the new. But can this spirited young girl bring both sides of a larger-than-life fight together before they unleash an evil power even older than the stars?

Sheep on a Ship book
#3
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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Circus Ship - 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.

  2. Charlie's Boat - 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.

  3. Toy Boat - The Book Snob Mom - This book is gorgeously illustrated and is simultaneously a fun “boat book”—showcasing lots of different kinds of boats with some of their attributes—while also conveying a much deeper and more moving message about independence, letting go, and a deep friendship. This really resonated with me in terms of a parent-child relationship, and how that bond can be strengthened if you let go a little but remain a safe place to always return to.

  4. 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!

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Books About Vehicles and Trucks

This Is the Firefighter book
#1
This Is the Firefighter
Written by Laura Godwin and illustrated by Julian Hector
board book
Recommend Ages: 5-6
Thoughts from Grammy

I love this book! The catchy, rhyming verse keeps readers moving through the action with a sense of purpose, no hesitating as the firefighters rush into burning buildings to bring people out. In boldly drawn illustrations in primary colors with black and white the firefighters are shown moving through all their responsibilities from preparation, to fire fighting, to heading back to the station. There is a little dalmatian to be spotted on nearly every page. I love the way this book teaches respect for people in dangerous first-responder jobs.

The fire alarm sounds. The firefighter jumps in the truck and races to a daring rescue! Get ready for an adventure as Laura Godwin and Julian Hector celebrate one of our bravest everyday heroes in this board-book edition for little hands. Praise for This is the Firefighter (hardcover edition) “With its swift action, catchy verse, and appropriate palette (red, white, blue, and flame), this should find good use among preschool vehicle enthusiasts and new readers as well as in the ‘community helpers’ unit.” -The Horn Book

Truck, Truck, Goose! book
#2
Truck, Truck, Goose!
Written by Tammi Sauer and illustrated by Zoe Waring
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Truck . . .Truck . . . Truck . . . Goose will never get to have his picnic if he can’t cross the street!

Bright colors and hilarious antics makes Truck, Truck Goose perfect for toddlers at bedtime, story time, or anytime.

With a clever play on the beloved game of Duck, Duck, Goose, it tells the sweet, sometimes chaotic story of a goose who just wants to cross the road in front of his cottage. And everything is going fine . . . until he drops his piano!

With bold and bright illustrations from Zoe Waring and minimal text from Tammi Sauer, Truck, Truck, Goose is great fun.

To the Rescue! book
#3
To the Rescue!
Written by Kate Riggs and illustrated by Nate Williams
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

From propellers that whir to lights that flash, rescue vehicles attract everyone’s attention! To the Rescue! offers up a fun, foundational introduction to six helpful vehicles that are sure to fascinate every preschool learner. Simple, rhythmical text introduces each automobile or aircraft by its definitive action. Whimsical illustrations, meanwhile, pair emergency situations with friendly characters. Set within a durable board book format, this is a title all young readers will race to save from the bookshelf!

Honorable Mentions
  1. What's That Noise? Choo! Choo! - What’s that noise? Lift the flap to find out! Perfect for guessing, prediction and memory skills - and simply joining in!

  2. Picture Fit Board Books: A Traffic Jam of Trucks - The Book Snob Mom - The format of this book is akin to the very high-end Xavier Deneux books by Chronicle, with one part raised on one side of the page, which fits into a cut out on the other page, and is fun for little fingers to explore. I really enjoy that per the title it is a “clever colors book” that not only teaches colors, but also different types of transportation, and different words for groupings of vehicles (particularly since some are a little silly i.e. “a squeeze of buses”!) If your kid is into I-Spying in books, this is also great for pointing out different kinds of animals that ride in and drive these vehicles across the pages.

  3. How to Track a Truck - 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.

  4. Love Is a Truck - The Book Snob Mom - The illustrations are adorable and major points for including a diverse main character. My toddler son is obsessed with trucks, so I really wanted to like it, particularly with how cute the illustrations are, but I had a hard time reading it aloud with the varied cadence and some lines that rhymed and some that did not.

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Books About Vehicles and Teamwork

Little Blue Truck book
#1
Little Blue Truck
Written by Alice Schertle and illustrated by Jill McElmurry
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

Beep! Beep! Beep! Meet Blue. A muddy country road is no match for this little pick up—that is, until he gets stuck while pushing a dump truck out of the muck. Luckily, Blue has made a pack of farm animal friends along his route. And they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get their pal back on the road. With a text full of truck sounds and animal noises to read aloud, here is a rollicking homage to the power of friendship and the rewards of helping others.

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.

Roadwork book
#3
Roadwork
Written by Sally Sutton and illustrated by Brian Lovelock
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Big machines and their drivers work together to build a road.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Mighty, Mighty Construction Site - Mr. Staccato - Not as cute as the original Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, but still an enjoyable read if you’ve got a little one that likes construction vehicles. This sequel introduces 5 additional construction workers and focuses on teamwork between the original and new trucks. It ends with the trucks bedding down for the night and a fun throwback to the original book.

  2. Tractor Mac Teamwork - All the vehicles and animals on Stonybrook Farm are enlisted to help build a new swimming hole for their town’s residents. It is a big job, but Tractor Mac and his pals are willing to lend a hand. But a tractor named Deke thinks he can do it all by himself—and do it better than everyone else. He soon learns that a complex job is done best when each member of a team does his or her part.

  3. Sheep in a Jeep - Out for a drive in the country, Nancy Shaw and Margot Apple’s well-known and beloved sheep run into some mishaps with their sturdy red jeep.

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Books About Vehicles and Bedtime

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.

Steam Train, Dream Train book
#2
Steam Train, Dream Train
Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

Gorgeous illustrations, wonderful cadence and lots of excellent train vocabulary to boot. This one is a joy to read again and again, and is simultaneously upbeat and soothing.

An unabridged board book version of the bestselling hardcover, perfect for small hands! The dream train pulls into the station, and one by one the train cars are loaded: polar bears pack the reefer car with ice cream, elephants fill the tanker cars with paints, tortoises stock the auto rack with race cars, and kangaroos stuff the hopper car with balls (while zebras referee). Dreamy illustrations and gentle rhyming text make this a beloved bedtime favorite for budding train enthusiasts everywhere.

Bulldozer Dreams book
#3
Bulldozer Dreams
Written by Sharon Chriscoe and illustrated by John Joven
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-6

After a long day of clearing dirt, rocks, and trees, a bulldozer is tired and ready for bed. He lifts up his blade, his spotlights flash on, he rolls through the gate, and lets out a yawn. He heads to the Wiggle and Shake for a bath, then to the Sip and Slurp for some supper, then chooses a bedtime story . . . and soon the bulldozer will be dreaming sweet dreams of finishing his important work! Construction vehicle fans young and old will delight in this imaginative book of how a bulldozer prepares for bed. Sharon Chriscoe’s irresistibly clever and gentle rhyming verse and John Joven’s charming illustrations are sure to soothe even the busiest of kids at bedtime.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Car, Car, Truck, Jeep - This book is bursting with cars, buses, planes, trains, trucks, diggers—and many more Things That Go. And with a text set to the tune of Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, vehicle-obsessed little ones will never want to put this book down!

  2. Otis's Busy Day - Featuring the New York Times bestselling character Otis! Otis is a very busy tractor. He loves working on the farm and playing with his friends. But at the end of a long day, Otis is happy to go home and rest! This is the perfect complement to the Otis picture books and a great book with which to learn to read! Join Otis and his farmyard friends for all kinds of fun in this new leveled reader. Excerpt: Otis jumps. Otis zips. Look, a friend!

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Books About Vehicles 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 Boxcar Children book
#3
The Boxcar Children
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

The Aldens begin their adventure by making a home in a boxcar. Their goal is to stay together, and in the process they find a grandfather.

Honorable Mentions
  1. The Secret Subway - 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.

  2. The Caboose Who Got Loose - Grammy - Bill Peet wrote 34 children’s books in his career and they are all still in print! The Caboose Who Got Loose is one of our favorites. Written in effortless verse, the story chugs right along, paired beautifully with Peet’s signature illustrations. He has a gift for breathing life into animals and familiar objects, in this case, a caboose; the houses and other structures and vehicles also take on human qualities and emotions. The book is a delight to read again and again.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

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Books About Vehicles and Construction

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.

The Construction Crew book
#2
The Construction Crew
Written by Finn Coyle and illustrated by Srimalie Bassani
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

Such a fun construction-themed book, with so many neat vehicles! The fact that it’s a lift-the-flap book makes it so fun, because you get to guess what each vehicle does. I also think the illustrations in this book are very cute, and loved that there were vocabulary words for the parts on all of the machines.

There are countless machines that help out on a construction site. Everything from a bulldozer to a crane has a very special job. Do you know what it is? Lift the page to learn about what each machine does and discover what happens when they all work together!

Old MacDonald Had a Truck book
#3
Old MacDonald Had a Truck
Written by Steve Goetz and illustrated by Eda Kaban
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

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 board book edition of the wildly popular picture book introduces favorite machines—like the excavator, dump truck, bulldozer, and more—and will have the vehicle-obsessed of all ages reading and singing along.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Demolition - What’s even more exciting to preschoolers than seeing big machines that build things? Watching the massive ones that tear them down! Crush the stone. Crush the stone. Chip and grind and munch. Make new concrete from the old. Whirr! Churr! Crunch! From the huge crane with a swinging ball (crack! ) to the toothy jaws that ram the walls (thwock! ), this rambunctious demolition, reverberating with sound words, is guaranteed to have small kids rapt. Bright spreads showcase the gargantuan machines in all their glory, and a pictorial glossary explains what each one can do.

  2. Bulldozer's Shapes - Time for the construction site to SHAPE UP! Little construction fans will love learning their shapes by watching Bulldozer CIRCLE around, clearing away TRIANGLES of dirt until the perfect building spot has been SQUARED away. It’s all in a day’s work for the trucks of the bestselling Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site!

  3. Diggers Go - The excavator goes, “chumma chumma hufft hufft FALUMP.” The steamroller goes, “CHUG chug CHUG chug moooooosh.” The wrecking ball goes, “BOOOOOM!” Come on down to the construction site and make some noise with eight exciting construction vehicles as they rumble, crunch, chug, and boom their way through this lively book! The oversized format lends itself to the shape of the vehicles and the boisterous text begs to be read aloud.

  4. Three Cheers for Kid McGear! - She might be small, but she’s got it all-she’s Kid McGear, Skid Steer! Kid McGear is the newest truck to join the Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site crew, and she’s eager to help with even the roughest and toughest construction work. But when a steep cliff puts the other trucks in danger, can the new Kid on the site prove she’s big enough for even this big, big job? Playful rhyming text from the bestselling team behind Construction Site on Christmas Night makes this thrilling tale of teamwork and the BIG potential in the littlest readers a must-have read-aloud for construction fans both big and small.

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Books About Vehicles and Animals

Planes, Trains, and Animobiles book
#1
Planes, Trains, and Animobiles
Written and illustrated by Lizzy Doyle
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This is a really fun book for children to learn about automobiles and animals. The rhyming scheme is fun and the word count in this board book is decent. My favorite part is the “Micecream” truck! This book’s illustrations are really colorful and cute, with a slight cartoony feel.

Soar in a BEARplane, take a ride in a taxiCRAB, and enjoy more animal and vehicle puns in Planes, Trains, and Animobiles!

Animobiles book
#2
Animobiles
Written and illustrated by Maddie Frost
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Some vehicles go VROOM! Some animals say ROAR! Put them both together and find out what’s in store

Imagine a different kind of hybrid on wheels: animalvehicle! The subway-snake slithers for commuters, the cowcars stop to graze in the field, the bear-bus scoots to the den for hibernation. What could be better than a mash-up of two of the best things: animals and things that go vroom!

Fantastic Toys book
#3
Fantastic Toys
Written and illustrated by Monika Beisner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

This delightfully imaginative book catalogs eleven fantastical inventions of magical toys, with detailed descriptions and vivid illustrations that will make kids want to create their own fantastic toys Fantastic Toys is a dream catalog of eleven marvelous inventions, magical toys that would make the world far more interesting, if only they existed. Here are inventions based on fantasy, like winged jumping boots that let you leap so high you startle the birds; inventions to assuage fears, like a glowing teddy bear; inventions to improve upon boring tasks or gloomy weather, like child-size bath-foam animals and animal umbrellas; and even educational inventions, like the treasure-hunt letter maze. Best of all are the inventions just for fun: the skipping machine that should be in every playground and the sheep toboggan (real sheep not included) that takes sledding to a whole new level. In a perfect mimicry of marketing, each toy is advertised with an earnest, compelling description and a detailed hand-drawn illustration of happy children demonstrating the fun that can be had. Reminiscent of Marjorie Winslow’s Mud Pies and Other Recipes, Fantastic Toys is a book not only for reading but for marveling, inventing, and building. Who knows what other fantastic toys are just waiting to be invented?

Honorable Mentions
  1. Bizzy Bear: Race Car Driver - Bizzy Bear is ready to win the race in this board book full of things to push and pull. Today, Bizzy Bear is driving in a big race — ready, set, go! Switch the light to signal the start and help him speed along in his race car and zoom around the track. Then lift the flag as he crosses the finish line! But will he get there first? Another exciting title in this best-selling series, which encourages preschoolers to get involved in the storytelling.

  2. Tractor Mac Farm Days - Tractor Mac wakes up eager to start the day. Plow, plant, scoop, mow—there’s always a new chore for him and his animal and vehicle friends to do at the farm. When the day is done, he washes up and goes to bed, excited to see what the next day will bring.

  3. Dig, Dig, Digger! - Welcome to the animal construction site! Dig, dig, dig…and dig some more with your favorite animal friends! In Dig, Dig Digger, children will be amused by the hilarious antics of the animals as they build an adventure playground. Young readers will delight in Gareth Lucas’s artwork and in finding the sound button on every spread. Each turn of the page will bring humor and fun with hippos, bears, camels, and more on their day at the construction site. 2017 NAPPA Winner

  4. Cycle City - 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.

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Books About Vehicles and Alphabet (abcs)

B Is for Bulldozer book
#1
B Is for Bulldozer
Written by June Sobel and illustrated by Melissa Iwai
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This is the perfect alphabet book for little construction lovers! What I really liked about this book is that it has more of a story rather than just showing different construction vehicles.

Get ready for a ride through the alphabet at a busy construction site. There’s a big yellow Bulldozer, a tall shiny Crane, a rusty red Dump truck—and the construction crew is hard at work. But what are they building?

Alphabet Trucks book
#2
Alphabet Trucks
Written by Samantha R Vamos and illustrated by Ryan O Rourke
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3
Thoughts from The Goodfather

Alphabet Trucks is one of the more unique alphabet books I’ve read, and I think it’s great. Who would have guessed you could find specialized trucks that start with each letter of the alphabet? Many alphabet books can be a bit random, so Alphabet Trucks offers creative text and pictures in a very narrow space: trucks!

Truck lovers find familiar and unusual trucks and learn where they work and what they do.

Alphabet Boats book
#3
Alphabet Boats
Written by Samantha R Vamos and illustrated by Ryan O Rourke
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

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.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Alphabet Trains - The Book Snob Mom - Such a great train book! Vamos is incredibly clever and detailed in her train choices, and while I wondered if she was making some of these up, in the back of the picture book edition there is a short explanation of each train she chose… and they’re all real trains, so it felt educational as well as very enjoyable. An excellent rhyme scheme is always a plus in my book, and finding the way the letters are used in each illustration is a fun add.

  2. Let's Go ABC! - The alphabet comes to zooming, vrooming life with vehicles for every letter, A to Z! A big, boxy bus drives up for letter B, a kayak floats by for letter K, and a rocket blasts off for letter R. A fun and thrilling range of planes, trains, automobiles, and more take readers on a ride through this charming early-learning book. Beloved picture book author Rhonda Gowler Greene and illustrator Daniel Kirk join forces for another classic rhyming story for every fan of things that go!

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Books About Vehicles and Farms

Farm (Wheels at Work) book
#1
Farm (Wheels at Work)
Written by Child's Play and illustrated by Cocoretto
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This is a great book for littles who love tractors, vehicles, and farms! I especially love the lift-the-flap feature.

Collecting, lifting, transporting, and delivering! Lift the flap to see each vehicle busy at work. Perfect for guessing, prediction and memory skills - and simply joining in!

Otis and the Puppy book
#2
Otis and the Puppy
Written and illustrated by Loren Long
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Otis and his farm friends love to play hide-and-seek. Otis especially loves to be “It,” finding his friends as they hide. Yet when the newest addition to the farm—a bounding puppy who can’t sit still and has a habit of licking faces—tries to hide, he finds his attention wandering and is soon lost in the forest. Night falls and Otis, knowing his new friend is afraid of the dark, sets out to find him. There’s just one problem: Otis is also afraid of the dark. His friend is alone and in need, though, so Otis takes a deep breath, counts to ten, and sets off on a different game of hide-and-seek.

From the critically-acclaimed illustrator of The Little Engine that Could, Of Thee I Sing, and Otis.

Tractor Mac Colors on the Farm book
#3
Tractor Mac Colors on the Farm
Written and illustrated by Billy Steers
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-4

This new edition to the Tractor Mac series is a board book that teaches children about the different colors of the rainbow. Tractor Mac and his vehicle and animal friends, including Sibley the horse, Pete the pig, and Goat Walter, show kids around Stony Meadow Farm in order to observe the colors of various objects found on the farm.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Tractor Mac Plane Jane's Journey - Plane Jane soars over clouds and mountains in this original Tractor Mac board book.

  2. Tractor Mac: Autumn Is Here - Tractor Mac and his vehicle and animal friends return in a jacketed hardcover about the seasonal changes of autumn. Fergie the calf does not like change, so when his pleasant routine on Stony Meadow Farm begins to change as summer turns to autumn. Fergie is not happy. Luckily his pals on the farm help him acclimate to, and even embrace, the change of seasons.

  3. Otis and the Tornado - Otis and all his farm friends are enjoying a summer’s day, but the bull has no interest in playing and stays in his pen. Suddenly the day turns frightening and stormy: it’s a tornado! Otis takes all of the animals to safety, but the bull is still locked in his pen! Quick as his tires will take him, Otis putt puff puttedy chuffs back to the farm to save the day.

  4. Otis Gives Thanks - Being thankful is a year-round blessing for Otis the tractor! Giving thanks makes Otis happy. He gives thanks for the land and country he loves. Otis is thankful for time to play games like hide-and-seek and ring-around-the-rosy. He cherishes his farm friends who make life on the ranch as happy as can be. And most of all, everyone’s favorite tractor is thankful for the greatest thing in life: love. Told with a sense of warmth, heart, and above all else, gratefulness, this is an uplifting tale that speaks to the soul of Otis’ character and reminds readers that taking the time to appreciate our lives is a virtue in itself. From the creator of the Otis series, and the illustrator of The Little Engine That Could and Of Thee I Sing by President Barack Obama.

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Books About Vehicles and Rescue

Otis book
#1
Otis
Written and illustrated by Loren Long
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from Readerly Mom

This is a sweet little story with a refreshingly unique premise and characters. Kids will have fun exploring the idea of a tractor as the main character, but the plot goes beyond the character as a premise—not only is Otis a tractor, but he’s a tractor who has a story arc! The illustrations have a distinctive style as well. All these components come together to create a book that is original and memorable. It wasn’t a total home run for me, but it was cute and something I wouldn’t mind reading aloud from time to time.

Meet Otis, everyone’s favorite tractor, created by the bestselling illustrator of Love by Matt de la Pena and The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper

New York Times bestselling author/artist Loren Long creates an unforgettable children’s classic. Otis is a special tractor. He loves his farmer and he loves to work. And he loves the little calf in the next stall, whom he purrs to sleep with his soft motor. In fact, the two become great friends: they play in the fields, leap hay bales, and play ring-around-the-rosy by Mud Pond.

But when Otis is replaced with the big yellow tractor, he is cast away behind the barn, unused, unnoticed . . . until the little calf gets stuck in Mud Pond. Then there is only one tractor—and it’s not big or yellow—who can come to the rescue. It is little old Otis who saves his friend. It is Otis who saves the day.

In a wonderful new palette, and in the tradition of classics like Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Story of Ferdinand, Loren Long has crafted an unforgettable new story—and character—celebrating the power of friendship and perseverance.

Otis and the Kittens book
#2
Otis and the Kittens
Written and illustrated by Loren Long
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

On the farm where Otis the tractor lives, it hasn’t rained in a long time and farmers all over the valley have grown anxious with water in such short supply. One hot afternoon, when Otis and his friends are resting beneath the shade of the apple tree, Otis spots something moving down in the valley—an orange tabby cat headed straight for the old barn. But then Otis sees something else that causes his engine to sputter . . . a swirl of smoke coming from the same barn. A fire!

As Otis races toward the fire with his friends in tow, he spots the tabby cat mewing in alarm. Otis rushes inside to discover the source of the cat’s worries–her little kittens are perched up on the hayloft, scared. Otis never hesitates. Yet even after he delivers a tractor full of kittens safely outside, their mama remains upset. Re-entering the burning barn, Otis discovers why: one tiny kitten, still too scared to move. With a friendly chuff, Otis coaxes her down and she scampers out the door. That’s when the floor collapses with a CRASH, trapping the tractor. Now Otis, the friend everyone can count on, must count on his friends.

Told with a sense of play and devotion, this is a heartwarming tale that reminds readers that sometimes even those who we count on to help us need a little help themselves. From the creator of Otis, Otis and the Puppy, and the illustrator of The Little Engine That Could and Of Thee I Sing by President Barack Obama.

Trucks to the Rescue! book
#3
Trucks to the Rescue!
Written and illustrated by William Low
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

In this bright and action-packed board book, favorite trucks are here to save the day! Whether it’s a flat tire or a fire, trucks come to the rescue in this board book. Kids will love repeating the refrain “to the rescue!” with each different truck—fire truck, dump truck, tow truck, and more. William Low’s characteristically beautiful art brings these big machines to life.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Mighty Tug - From early in the morning until time to say, “Good night,” Mighty Tug works in the busy harbor, guiding cargo ships, pulling barges, and helping with rescues.

  2. Dog on a Digger - Dog likes to ride along while his human companion works the big excavator at the construction site. But today, when they stop at the snack bar for something to eat, Dog’s little puppy friend goes missing. Luckily, Dog has a brave and ingenious idea for coming to the rescue — with the help of the excavator, of course! Incorporating bright yellow accents, Kate Prendergast’s wonderfully detailed pencil drawings tell a satisfying story of a loyal, resourceful, and clever pup. Two perennial favorites — canines and heavy machinery — come together in a charming wordless book sure to please readers of all ages.

  3. Farmer John's Tractor - When the river floods and a family is trapped in their car, will Farmer John’s rusty, trusty tractor save the day?

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Books About Vehicles and Building Things

Little Excavator book
#1
Little Excavator
Written and illustrated by Anna Dewdney
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

I liked that this book about the Little Excavator is something little ones can relate to—they may not be old enough to do all of the big jobs, but they can do specific jobs really well and help in ways no one else can. This book goes through the names of some of the construction vehicles, has sounds to accompany it, and shows the process of a specific building project completed at the end.

From New York Times bestselling author-illustrator of the Llama Llama books comes a new character ready to dig his way into your heart!

Here come the BIG RIGS rolling down the street. Thumpa-thumpa bumpa-bumpa BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

There’s Loader and Dump Truck, Backhoe and Crane. They’re ready to transform a vacant lot into a neighborhood park. And who wants to help most of all?

Little Excavator! But are there any jobs for someone so small?

Anna Dewdney’s signature rhyming text and inviting illustrations make this a perfect read aloud for for fans of things that go!

Cement Mixer's ABC book
#2
Cement Mixer's ABC
Written by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Ethan Long
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Sing along with these construction ABCs! Cement Mixer churns out a rollicking alphabet rhyme that makes work light and teaches little readers the words of the construction site, from A to Z.

How to Build a Car book
#3
How to Build a Car
picture book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Learn about car mechanics and teamwork as three unlikely friends work to build a miniature racer. In How to Build a Car, three unlikely friends—Eli, a mouse; Phoebe, a sparrow; and Hank, a frog—decide to build a small motorcar together. The story follows the friendly trio as they learn all about how a car works and how it is constructed. Detailed illustrations show the inner workings of the car, teaching children the basics of how each part works together to get the car moving. Through hard work and perseverance, Eli, Phoebe, and Hank learn about both car mechanics and teamwork as they build a miniature racer. With the help of this sweet story, children will learn the different parts and functions of a car.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Kitten Construction Company: Meet the House Kittens - All Marmalade wants to do is build things. She is, after all, a trained architect. She’s also a distractingly adorable kitten. Fed up with not being taken seriously because she’s so cute,Marmalade bands together with a handful of other aspiring builders—all of themkittens. But in a world where humans call the shots, can the KittenConstruction Company prove their worth . . . without giving up the very thingsthat make them kittens? (Don’t worry, dear reader, the answer is definitely”yes”!)

  2. Tractor Mac Builds a Barn - Tractor Mac and friends celebrate autumn festivals in this paperback edition which includes two pages of stickers!

  3. Road Builders - Ever wonder how a road is built? Come along with Caldecott Medalist Simms Taback and find out! First you’ll meet the crew. Then you’ll see all the trucks up close—cement mixers, bulldozers, dump trucks, graders, pavers—and learn what each one does. And finally, you’ll watch a bustling new road come to life!

  4. I'm a Truck Driver - Now in board book—a charming story about a little boy and girl adventuring from one driver’s seat to the next featuring 12 exciting trucks! There are many different kinds of trucks to drive. You can dig up dirt with a power shovel, lift steel beams with a giant crane, flatten tar with a steamroller, and push away snow with a snowplow. Preschoolers will love watching the little boy and girl in the story as they sit in the driver’s seat of twelve big trucks that rumble and tumble and go clinka-vroom vroom! A Christy Ottaviano Book

Want to see more children's books about building things?

Books About Vehicles and Adventure

TURBO Racers: Trailblazer book
#1
TURBO Racers: Trailblazer
Written by Austin Aslan
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In Turbo Racers: Trailblazer, twelve-year-old Mace Blazer gets the chance to pilot a state-of-the-art vehicle that transforms at the touch of a button from race car to jet plane to single-person sub, in the biggest race in the world. The roar of the crowd, the glow of the spotlight, the thrill of the race—Mace Blazer dreams of going TURBO. TURBOnaunts thrive on the thrum of trimorphers’s rocket engines as the vehicles morph from super-powered race cars to speeding jet aircrafts to torpedo-fast submarines, while they race full-throttle around every bend. And Mace believes he’s got what it takes to join their ranks—he only needs the chance to prove it. So when a reclusive retired racer chooses Mace to try out to be part of the next generation of TURBOnauts, Mace knows that this is his moment to show what he can do. But the path to his big shot means facing down the best and the brightest from around the world. Mace will have to live more fearlessly, hone quicker reflexes, be revolutionary—but will it be enough? Mace quickly realizes that everything he’s ever hoped for comes at a price. He’ll have to decide between what is right and what is easy. Every morph counts in the first book in this exhilarating new adventure series by the acclaimed author of The Islands at the End of the World, Austin Aslan. This is the first title in a high-stakes middle-grade two-book series!

Trojan Horse Power book
#2
Trojan Horse Power
Written by Blake Hoena and illustrated by Fernando Cano
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Nobody told Odysseus about the monster truck competition in Troy, but when he tries to join the fun he finds that hero ThunderTrucks are not allowed in—but Odysseus comes up with a clever plan to get past the dump truck cards and enter the contest.

Speed Dash book
#3
Speed Dash
Written by Blake Hoena and illustrated by Fernando Cano
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Atalanta believes herself to be the fastest hero truck in the world, as her record of winning races indicates—and now she must also defeat the MonsterTrucks that challenge her to ever more demanding obstacle courses, but with a little help from the other hero trucks she will prevail.

Honorable Mentions
  1. Little Truck - Little Truck is setting out to explore! He’s going fast, climbing hills, and braving tunnels, being just the right amount of careful along the way. But no matter how far he goes, his caring parent is never far behind. This on-the-go board book by beloved author-illustrator Taro Gomi is perfect for toddlers moving onwards and upwards to big adventures.

  2. Little Tug - Little Tug may not be very tall or very fast, but when the big ships in the harbor need help, they know they can count on him to be there with a push, a pull, and a ride to safety. But what happens when Little Tug gets tired? This simple, endearing book with a charming retro feel and an emotional punch is the first book for Roaring Brook Press by the acclaimed author of Polar Bear Night (New York Times Best Illustrated book) and Where’s Walrus?

Want to see more children's books about adventure?

Epilogue

32 books that are just too good to leave off of our vehicles list.

  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. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. Indestructibles: Things That Go! - Now babies can learn all about the things that go in a book that’s indestructible. With call-out identifications on each spread, Things That Go! is a vibrant introduction to those irresistible vehicles that fly, drive, sail, dig, lift, dump, and more. With almost two million copies in print, Indestructibles are the books built for the way babies read. They are 100 percent baby-proof, chew-proof, rip-proof, and drool-proof. Printed on a unique nontoxic, paperlike material that holds up to anything babies can throw at it—gumming, spilling, dragging across the floor—Indestructibles are the little books that could. They’re indestructible. And if they get dirty, just throw them in the wash.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Hatchet - Headed for Canada to visit his father for the first time since his parents’ divorce, thirteen-year-old Brian is the sole survivor of a plane crash, with only the clothes he has on and a hatchet to help him live in the wilderness. A Newbery Honor Book. Reprint.

  4. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind - Japanese edition of The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. True story of a boy growing up in an improvised, desolate central Africa. The 14 year old William Kamkwamba learned about electrical windmills at a small library, and after weeks of foraging for junk parts, he did the incredible. In Japanese. Distributed by Tsai Fong Books, Inc.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. A Long Walk to Water - The New York Times bestseller A Long Walk to Water begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the “lost boys” of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way.

  4. 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.

  1. Total Tractor! - Kids who like trucks and tractors will love Total Tractor! a fun, colorful guide to farm machines, tractors, and things that go. Younger readers and even pre-readers have lots to explore in Total Tractor! thanks to detailed photography of a huge variety of tractors: from cool classics to gleaming modern machines. Color images capture all the details of the tractors, and driver’s-eye view lets your child peek inside the tractors. Readers and parents can dip into Total Tractor! for a quick view of the material, or flip through the pages of this comprehensive book. With Total Tractor! there’s always something new to discover!

  2. The Truth about Bats - Ms. Frizzle takes her students all over the country looking for bats, and in the process the students learn all about these flying mammals.

  3. Dig! - Peek-a-DIG! Each hardworking construction scene will engage your little one with a pair of lift-a-flaps with peek-a-boo surprises. Talk about how roads, houses, and skyscrapers are built. Look at the machines that help construct them. Inside the flaps, you’ll find fun facts about items in the artwork.

  4. Everything Goes: In the Air - 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.

  1. A Very, Very Noisy Tractor - A woman driving a tractor through town lets the noise drown out the comments the adults who see her make about her hair, clothing, and appearance, but does not let it stop her from interacting with a child or her own family.

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

  3. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - Two children persuade their inventor father to purchase and restore an old car which turns out to have magical powers.

  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. Little Boat - When you’re small and on the go, there’s a lot to watch out for: big boats, waves, rain clouds, and more! But Little Boat can handle whatever comes his way, braving the elements and the unexpected with his initiative, confidence, and positive attitude. This colorful follow-up to Little Truck by beloved author-illustrator Taro Gomi will entertain toddlers sailing toward big adventures!

  2. Maisy's Plane - Maisy flies her plane to a special party and passes hot air balloons and clouds along the way.

  3. Mrs. Wishy-Washy's Farm - The Fun Uncle - This book is pretty good. The farm animals get tired of Mrs. Wishy-Washy bathing them in the barn, so they decide to run away to the city. They are disappointed and worried when they find out how different the “barns” are in the city than at the farm, and they’re soon put in animal jail. Thankfully, Mrs. Wishy-Washy rescues them and they realize how great their home is. This book is pretty fun, but the animals are a little mean to Mrs. Wishy-Washy.

  4. Everything Goes: On Land - 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!

  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. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. The Rusty, Trusty Tractor - Mr. Hill of Hill’s Tractor Sales bets Micah’s Grandpappy that his rusty old tractor won’t make it through another hay season, but Micah learns that Grandpappy’s tractor, like an old friend, doesn’t let him down.

  1. Classic Goosebumps #30: The Haunted Car - “Originally published as Goosebumps Series 2000 #21: The haunted car”—Title page verso.

  2. The Great Airport Mystery - Valuable electronic parts containing platinum are being stolen from shipments made by Stanwide Mining Equipment’s cargo planes, and Frank and Joe are called upon to assist their world-renowned detective father solve the baffling case. While posing as Stanwide employees, the boys look into the truth behind the chief pilot’s death at sea. The puzzling trail of clues leads the young sleuths to an uninhabited Caribbean island, but the final, and most startling, discovery is made in the boys’ home town of Bayport.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

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