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I bought Choo Choo Clickety Clack for Little Man after he read any Emergency from the same series whilst at nursery, and really loved it. He loves anything to do with vehicles and as this book seems to cover pretty much all of them so it seemed like a good choice for our ever growing book collection
The book is made up of 12 double pages covering 11 different vehicles and a final page about them all winding down. The illustrations by Alex Aycliffe are bright and cartoonlike, which really grab your attention. Little Man likes to pick out the little details in the pictures - like a lot of the vehicles have numbers on them, or what various people are doing.
In contrast Margaret Mayo's words only consist of 4 lines, and they all follow the same structure. The first line introduces the vehicle and what they are great at - for example 'motorbikes are great at roar, roar, roaring'. The next two lines use descriptive language to tell you about them, before ending with the sound the make 'Vroom, Vroom' and always ending with 'Off the go!' which Little Man always joins in on! The descriptive language is fab and really captures the essence of the vehicles. Little Man loves all the words that sound like noises - like 'whooaarr' and 'vroom'. However I do find that I sometimes struggle to get into a rhythm reading the first few pages and can find it a bit of a tongue twister, although hearing Mummy get in a muddle allegedly enhances the enjoyment of this book!
This book has become a firm favourite in our house. I love the variety of vehicles in this book too - you still get your trains and planes but you also get hot air balloons and cable cars which is a bit of a change from the norm. Little Man is 4 and still really loves this book, but I would say it is suitable for toddlers upwards. This is still a book that I read to him, as he is just learning to read now and it is not really suitable for sounding out phonetically, so there is still a lot of shelf life. As there are only four lines per page it is a really quick read, so it is great for when time is short or you have a little one with a shorter attention span.
We got ours from Amazon from £4.79 delivered but you can also get a copy used from 1p plus postage. The book is part of the 'On the Go' series by Margaret Mayo and there are lots of similar titles available, including Roar, Zoom Rocket Zoom and Dig, Dig Digging. We will be adding some more to our collection soon!
This is one of those rare children's books where the illustrations (by Alex Aycliffe) are just as intriguing and attention grabbing as the words (Margaret Mayo). Through 12 double pages of brightly coloured pictures and ideal bed-time lengthed 4-lined prose, the child is introduced to 11 different means of transport from the car, to the train, to a rather more obscure cable car.
This is a rather unusual children's book as in there is not a main character; people feature heavily in the pictures as they use the different vehicles, but the book is about transport in general.
Each page starts with whatever vehicle covered and then describes them - eg "Cars are great at drive, drive, driving, to shops to friends or a special outing". I like the fact that the vocabulary used is varied and not dumbed down at all - there are some great words like "hurtling" and "swerving" that make this a joy to read or be read to.
I also like the fact that a double page of a picture of the vehicles starts and ends the book and provides ample discussion opportunity for the parent and child - we count, describe and name the vehicles. A refrain of "off they go!" runs through the book and demands audience participation. The book hurtles along like the train on the cover due to the way that it is written and is a satisfying read.
I was reading about the new children's laureate this week and he said ""Picture books are for everybody at any age, not books to be left behind as we grow older. The best ones leave a tantalising gap between the pictures and the words, a gap that is filled by the reader's imagination, adding so much to the excitement of reading a book,". He wasn't, clearly, talking about his book but he might have well as been. Each page has so much detail with different people and objects around the transport. I love the cartoonesque style and the way that the text wraps around the pictures, wave-like on the boat page and rising upwards with the plane. I think that the words and pictures in this book are equally good.
This is just a perfect children's book that we really enjoy reading and don't tire of. It may, possibly, be aimed at boys but my two girls and I really enjoy it.
"Choo Choo Clickety-clack" complements the other books in the series perfectly and is available in boardbook, jigsaw book and paperback format. We own the paperback version which is currently priced at £4.76 from amazon. It would make a fantastic present and, in my opinion, can be enjoyed by the very youngest child up to school age and beyond. Highly recommended.
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Orchard (3 May 2005)
Product Dimensions: 26.8 x 24.6 x 1 cm
- The book -
I bought this book as in the Early Years, one of the topics is 'Transport' and since the subject matter of the book is based on this theme, it was ideal!
Although a fiction book, there isn't a story line to the book as such. It looks at lots of different forms of transport and not just the obvious trains and cars. This is one of the positives of the book as it introduces children to a wide range of different forms of transport such as sailing boats, hot-air balloons, cable cars, motorbikes, ferryboats etc..
Each form of transport is introduced on a double page spread, beginning with trains:
'Trains are great at speed, speed, speeding.
Tooting - whoo-hoo!
Through tunnels rattling, at stations stopping:
Chool choo, clickety-clack! Off they go!'
'Sailing boats are great at sail, sail, sailing.
Over waves bouncing,
Water slap-slapping, sails flapping:
Flappety-flap! Off they go!'
'Hot-air balloons are great at float, float, floating.
High in the sky glide, gliding.
Filling, swelling and rising:
Whoo-oosh! Off they go!'
Having introduced lots of different forms of transport, the book ends with a night time scene where most of the vehicles are resting but some keep travelling!
- Style, Format and Illustrations -
Despite the fact that the book doesn't have a conventional rhyming pattern, there are lots of onomatopoeic phrases that children can join in with, e.g. zipetty-zip, shlump, whurr-rr, chug chug, etc.
I have used this with 3 - 5 year olds and they soon begin joining in with the repetitive text of 'Off they go!' and love to join in with the sounds of the different vehicles, usually as loudly as possible!!
The font is very good for young children. It is large and simple, i.e. no distracting loops and curls etc.
I also like the way in which the font changes size and boldness for different words which encourages the children to emphasise the words when joining in with the text.
The text and illustrations work well together:
~ Each of the four lines of text for the hot-air balloons go around four separate hot-air balloons.
~ The writing for the sailing boats is set out in a curved shape, to represent the movement of gentle waves.
~ The text for the aeroplanes is set out so that it goes upwards representing an aeroplane taking off.
The illustrations by Alex Ayliffe are very bright and bold which instantly appeals to young children.
Although initially they look very simple, there is a lot of detail on most of the pages which sparks off discussion. We have also incorporated early counting skills with the book by counting how many cars, flags etc the children can see on each page.
Although this book is aimed at the very young, I do like the fact that the author has introduced more unusual and challenging vocabulary such as crouching, swelling, swooping, swerving etc..
- Educational Values -
~ Introduces children to different forms of transport and travel beyond the obvious.
~ Encourages active participation through joining in.
~ Introduces children to some challenging vocabulary.
~ Can be used with older children to introduce onomatopoeic words in a simple way.
~ Develops counting skills and 1:1 correspondence.
- Other books by Margaret Mayo -
~ Dig, dig, digging
~ The daring dragon
~ How to count crocodiles
And many more
- Price -
My paperback, ISBN: 1-84362-438-9 was £5.99
However the following new and used copies are available from amazon some of which are a little cheaper even when taking P&P in to consideration!
~ Paperbacks from 45p
~ Boardbooks from just 1p
~ Hardcovers from £2.00
The book is also available on audio CD priced at 4.23
- My Verdict -
This was a popular book with most of the early years children. It is bright and colourful with lots of opportunities for joining in.
A must-have book for anyone with young children who are mad about cars, trains, aeroplanes and a whole lot more!