Right around the time my oldest Henry turned one, he started adding to his vocabulary. I noticed it mainly on walks when we would move from street to street in our neighborhood in the early summer mornings, and he would start to point at each and every vehicle we met saying “tuhhhhh?” for truck, and “tuhhhhh?” for car.
And so it began, his love for all things that move, zoom, crunch, crash, steer, honk, dig, work, and vroom. He’s since also fostered a love for not listening well, running, jumping, being destructive, and leaving a trail of debris wherever we go. I love his spirit with all my might and know one day it will be the most amazing attribute for him, but as I’ve said before here, raising an “all boy” boy is…wow. We are constantly working on listening and trying to teach the appropriate times for running and jumping, and encouraging gentleness when at all possible. But we are also careful never to stifle the things that make Henry the way he is…active, high-energy, never still, constantly throwing, constantly learning and still very much a lover of trucks.
Because I have a slight addiction to children’s books, we’ve really built up our library over the last (almost) three years. I have a stack almost as tall as Henry of books that I’d put up against any toddler boy, even one that finds it hard to sit still for a quick read on mama’s lap. I’m assuming you already have Little Blue Truck (and maybe even Little Blue Truck Leads the Way too for more rhyming and life lessons) along with a copy of Good Night, Good Night Construction Site or Steam Train, Dream Train and probably a handful of Wheelie books because you’re a smart mama and know the super tactile book/toy combo frequently make quiet-time occasions like church or doctor office waiting rooms just a bit easier.
I scoured our bookshelves for a handful of our favorites that may just be a little lesser known, but definitely qualify as must-haves. Plus, I polled fellow Wichita Moms Blogger, friend and boy mom to two Rachel for her expert opinion since she’s got a couple of more years on me in the raising rambunctious boy readers department.
1. Demolition – The rhythm of the text in this book is seriously fantastic, and I can easily get into figuring out how to make all of the ridiculous construction vehicle noises that my son is already wayyy better at. There are two others from this series too – Roadwork is a fave from Rachel after her oldest Luke (4) received it for a gift on his second birthday, and I definitely have Construction on our wish list!
2. The Ultimate Book of Vehicles – This book. I could open mouth kiss it. It has bought us hours and hours of quiet time. In the car. At church. At home. Henry cannot get enough of all the moving parts and comprehensive list of vehicle illustrations. We hope to pick up another from the same creators, The Ultimate Construction Site, soon.
3. Night Light – Henry adores trying to figure out what vehicle comes next by the clues left by lights, and I adore the simplicity AND the opportunity to practice our counting.
4. Diggers Go – Are we in a safe space where I can admit everything I know about different types of diggers I learned from this book? I had no idea what the difference was between an excavator, front loader, skid loader, etc. until Henry came along and along with it came his love for these huge monstrosities. This book, along with Trucks Go, are on our favorites list, because I enjoy the abnormal shape of the book and gorgeous bright watercolor illustrations. (And if planes or trains are more of your thing, author Steve Light has written versions for you!)
5. Honk Honk! Beep Beep!– Per Rachel, if you LOVE to hear your sweet little boys repeat phrases from stories, than this book is for you. While she and her boys read this book, she loves to pause and hear them say “Honk Honk Beep Beep!” with loud little boy enthusiasm. Plus, this book is full of rhyming and repetition which is great for emergent readers.
Y’all, the list could go on and on…Farmer Dales Red Pickup Truck, Digger, Dozer, Dumper, Who is Driving? etc. Of course we have a stack of books equally as high that deserve mention even if they don’t vroom, zoom, or dig – Good Night, Gorilla, Press Here, Have You Seen My Dragon?, The Little Engine That Could, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Stuck, Where the Wild Things Are, plus some of Rachel’s faves – I Love You Stinky Face, Dinosaur Roar, and Love You Forever.
I may or may not take my kids to storytime to get new book ideas for our always growing wish list (and fortunately neither of my tots is complaining about our weekly outing), so please share some of your favorites in rotation too. If we don’t have them now, we will soon.