Pros: FIND GOLDBUG! Long enough to last for several readings with small children...
Cons: If the kids want to finish it before bed, you may be a while...
Cars and Trucks and Things that Go! is one of the few books that we have checked out from the library only to have to buy it for ourselves. My wife used to read this with her parents when she was a child, as the original book was published in 1974 by Richard Scarry. The copyright has recently been renewed by Richard Scarry II in 2002, making this book widely available yet again. Our boys love the book, and it is often requested for bed-time reading
Cars and Trucks and Things that Go is a hardcover book with 69 pages in total and measuring approximately 12 inches in height by 10 1/2 inches in width... This is a big children's book! The book is a documentary of sorts, following the Pig family as they drive to a picnic and back. Along the way Ma, Pa, Penny and Pickles pass through all sorts of terrain and see all kinds of cars. There is the bananamobile, carrotcar, teeny-tiny limousine, and a toothpaste car among many, many others. The family passes through a construction zone, a military base, an airport, and a railroad station on the way to the beach for the picnic. They pass all kinds of cars and all kinds of people on their way to the picnic and back, and the storyline itself explains some but not all of them.
There are other minor story lines occurring throughout this book, such as Dingo the Dog racing his car away from Officer Flossie on the first page. Dingo is a horrible driver in a red sports car who causes accidents, races at high speeds and is generally a menace to society. Will Flossie catch him before the end of the book?
And then there is Goldbug. Goldbug is a little... well... gold colored bug, and he can be found on every page. Goldbug hides out in cars, in lights, and inside crane cabs. The author asks the children reading to find goldbug a few times throughout the book, promoting participation. Reading this book with your children can turn quickly into a game to find goldbug as you turn the pages of the book.
The story is pretty benign in nature and by itself is not something that would hold childrens interest for long. When matched up with the illustrations, however, the story takes flight
The illustrations meshed with the story are what makes this book a keeper. The drawings are brightly colored and somewhat detailed. If you have read any Richard Scarry books prior, you know right away who the author of this book is. There is much more going on in the illustrations than the story tells, as there are constantly cars and equipment surrounding the Pig family on the road. Each of the vehicles will have a small caption next to it, explaining what it is. While several of these vehicles are fairytale vehicles not present in the real world, many more are actual vehicles that your children will memorize. There is a tractor, bulldozer, and scraper for example, and repeated reading will help teach your children to recognize this equipment in real life.
We checked this book our from the local library and read a few pages every night to our two older boys, aged one and a half and almost three at the time. We would only read a few pages, as they wanted to know the names of each of the vehicles and people on the page. Going through each and every one takes time! After the week was up, we were not through the book yet, and the boys wanted to keep it for themselves. Based on this as well as my wifes experiences with the book as a child, we bought a copy online for our home.
We have had this for about six months now, and it still is one of the favorites for bed time reading. Both boys have it close to memorized and can tell you what is on the next page before you turn. My wife and I were happy to read this when we first bought it, as the one and a half year old loved to find Goldbug You would turn the page and he would immediately start looking for him. As soon as he found him, he would point and scream at the top of his lungs while clapping loudly, I found Goldbug! Yeaaaaaa! Sadly, he has since quit doing this, but it is still a book we enjoy. We look forward to sharing this with our third son when he is old enough, as well.
My wife and I would recommend this for you and your children or to get as a gift for children you know up to about six years old. After that, it may be that this book becomes relegated to garage sales or hand-me-downs for relatives Ours will stay with us, as we will want to share the story with our grandchildren some day, and hopefully Keenans children will share his love for finding Goldbug!
I hope this review has helped you in your purchase decision, and any ratings or comments are thoroughly appreciated!