When we arrived in the UK for our recent holiday Nana had been out shopping to get her favourite (and only) grandchild some presents to make him feel at home. One of the things she bought was a collection of 10 books called Amazing Machines by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker.
She knew that Thomas has a thing about cars and busses and lorries and stuff, so she was fairly certain she was on to a winner. She could not have possibly known how popular the books have become, though, to the extent that they are now among the favourite books in our house.
There isn’t a story in the books, instead the writer tries to explain what the different machines do as well as showing the differences between for examples a diesel train and a steam engine. And all of this s done through rhymes which have a great, catchy but simple rhythm. Occasionally the rhymes are a bit forced, but that is probably to be expected when you are limiting yourself to this extent. At the moment I am reading them aloud, but there is enough in these books that I can see them being read by a kid of 5 or 6 on their own.
All of the books are illustrated with bold pictures and vivid colours. There is a collection of animals that drive the trucks, put out the fires and fly the rockets. There is enough going on in each of the pictures to be able to ask questions about them, for example ‘who’s driving the red tractor?’ or ‘where’s the sheep?’ but they aren’t too busy to be a distraction.
The last page of each book has a mini picture dictionary with some of the items introduced in the book and a brief description of what they are used for. The books also come with a CD with the stories read aloud, but I haven’t used this yet.
The 10 titles are Terrific Trains, Dazzling Diggers, Cool Cars, Tremendous Tractors, Tough Trucks, Super Submarines, Roaring Rockets, Brilliant Boats, Flashing Fire Engines and Amazing Aeroplanes. At the moment our favourites are the ones about the fire engines, the trains and the tractors.
If you have a kid who is interested in machines and cars I cannot think of a better set of books to get them.
Amazing Machines by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker. Published by MacMillan Books.
Amazing Machines Box Set: thebizymama.wordpress.com
Tony Mitton: tonymitton.co.uk