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Friday, March 11, 2011

Blown Away by The Trucker – Preschooler Pick

by Marcy Collier

When you read to a child from a young age, you instill a lifelong love for books in your child. As writers, we have favorite authors that we choose to read to our children, but as your toddler strives to become an I-can-do-it-by myself preschooler, you must let go a bit and encourage your child to explore new books.

I started reading aloud to both of my boys while in the womb. I know, I know, some people don’t believe the growing baby can hear you, but I did and still do. While they were infants, I read to them everything from board books to novels to the daily newspaper. As each of them grew a little older and became more independent, we made weekly trips to the library where would sit and read. At first, it took a lot of self-control not to snatch up my favorite picture books by Jane Yolen or David Shannon, curl up in the cozy corner with them and read. My older son was hooked on Thomas the Train and Curious George books. By the end of that phase, I knew every single train name and each H.A. Rey tale by heart. Those were his choices.

My younger son, now a preschooler, is crazy about truck books. One of the libraries we frequent categorizes the books by subjects. This is a fabulously kid-friendly way to help young children explore literature.  

His favorite choice for this week is, The Trucker, written and illustrated by Barbara Samuels (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2010). http://www.amazon.com/Trucker-Barbara-Samuels/dp/0374378045.
The text begins, “Leo was a Trucker. No doubt about it.” Leo is obsessed with trucks in every form of imaginative play. When Mama points out green tulips, Leo sees a green garbage truck. When Mama notices the Adopt a Cat window display, Leo wants the fire truck toy in the window. Mama surprises Leo with Lola the cat, which is NOT a fire truck. Soon, Lola takes over all of Leo’s favorite toy trucks as her playthings. Leo has had enough with Lola until she saves the day during a pretend fire rescue. Energetic, playful illustrations make this story a fun and exciting read.

The School Library Journal gave this book a STARRED review. “Hilarious, and full of the details in a child's everyday life. It's fun from cover to cover.”

If I had not been willing to let go a bit, I would never have found this great book, which my preschooler adores. When my older son started kindergarten, he loved exploring his school library and choosing new books, while many of his classmates bulked that books were boring. His reply, “You must not have found the right book yet. Keep looking.”

To instill the lifelong love of reading in your kids, you have to encourage them to explore new authors and titles. Your children may just help you discover your next new, favorite book.

1 comment:

  1. Your article took me back in time to when my daughters were young. They LOVED Barbara Samuel's Dolores books - Faye and Dolores, Happy Birthday Dolores, Duncan and Dolores. All these focused on a wise, calm older sister and wild-child younger sister (just like my girls at that age!). Her illustrations are wonderful!