Toddler Reads: Planes Trains & Automobiles


Pilot Pups. Written by Michelle Meadows, Illustrated by Dan Andreagen. (2008).

A sweet, rhyming tale about stuffed puppies in a remote control airplane. When the toy train breaks down, it’s pilot pups to the rescue! Lovely earth-toned oil illustrations.

Planes. Written and Illustrated by Byron Barton. (1986).

A brightly colored board book about different kinds of planes (jet planes, cargo planes, crop dusters and so on). This was perfect for Frances’ plane obsession phase!

Planes Fly! Written by George Ella Lyon. Illustrated by Mick Wiggins. (2013).

Another rhyming plane tale, about different kinds of planes and the things that they can do. The digital illustrations are reminiscent of 1930s travel posters.


and the train goes… Written and Illustrated by William Bee. (2007).

This is a good participatory read – all about the sounds made by a train and the people on it. The illustrations are bright and baroque. The decoration (and the car full of people drinking tea) remind me India, but it could just as easily be anywhere!

How to Train a Train Written by Jason Carter Eaton. Illustrated by John Rocco. (2013).

A cute, smart tale about how to capture and tame your very own pet train. I appreciated that both boys and girls are pictured with their pet trains. Lush, full-page illustrations with lots of whimsical details for kids to enjoy.

The Little Engine that Could. Written by Watty Piper. Illustrated by George & Doris Hauman. (1930).

A classic that’s still enjoyable to read today – all about the Little Blue Engine who thinks she can. The book was reissued last year, with new illustrations by Loren Long, but I enjoy the original version that I read as a child – especially the page with the smiling apples and oranges!


Alphabeep: A Zipping, Zooming ABC. Written by Deborah Pearson, Illustrated by Edward Miller. (2003).

A colorful and fun alphabet book focused on vehicles. From ambulance to Zamboni, the book gives a sentence or two about each mode of transport or traffic sign. I especially liked the drivers and other individuals in the illustrations are diverse in terms of both gender and skin tone.

Bus Stops. Written and illustrated by Taro Gomi. (1988).

Follow the bus from stop to stop as it lets its passengers off. The book has great, double-page illustrations, and just a few sentences of text per page. The bus travels a much wider route than any I’ve been on, but that’s what makes it fun! We end in the garage, saying Good Night to the bus, which makes it a good pick for bedtime.

Toot, toot, beep, beep. Written and illustrated by Emma Garcia. (2008).

A simple tale about the sounds that different vehicles make (“‘Beep beep’ goes the little red jeep.” “‘Chugga chugga goes the old green camper van.”) Bright, collage-like illustrations add appeal to this noisy tale.

Toddler Reads are aimed at children 0-3. All of these books have been Frances-approved.

Toddler Reads: Planes Trains & Automobiles

2 thoughts on “Toddler Reads: Planes Trains & Automobiles

  1. Jami says:

    My favorite part of the Toot, Toot, Beep, Beep book is that it not only includes the sounds (which makes it fun), but also includes emphasis on colors (which makes it educational!). Definitely one of my faves out of this bunch… although, scratch that, i like them all!


  2. I love the use of Frances’ new book shelves in her reading corner for your picture display. Thanks for your delightful and helpful reviews of these books. I’m so glad you remember and still enjoy The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper.


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