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I remember my Mum reading Richard Scarry books to me when I was a kid, and I remember starring in wonder at the intricate and detailed illustrations and seeing what I could spot each time I looked at his books. So when I saw three Richard Scarry books for £4.99 on a discount book website, I just couldn’t resist – I bought them for my kids, honest! And amongst this set was ‘Cars & Trucks and Things That Go’, which is a particular favourite of my youngest daughter, who is 3 years old.
Cars And Trucks And Things That Go
This book is an A4 sized paperback with 48 pages, so it is pretty big and long, so it is not for very young children because I do believe it would be just lost on them. Inside you will find every sort of vehicle imaginable from cars, delivery trucks, hay wagons, sports cars, tankers, trains, construction vehicles, and plenty of made up ones too, including a Pickle Truck, and my daughter’s favourite the Doughnut Car.
There is a story running through the book and it is based on Ma, Pa, Pickles & Penny Pig and their journey to the beach to have a picnic. Along the way they meet various characters such as Dingo Dog who is on the run, and Officer Flossy who is close on his tail. You will also see Mistress Mouse and her Repair Truck pop up at various points
fixing broken down vehicles; along with many other characters and cars.
Although there is a long running story throughout the whole book, each page also tells a mini story of its own, but it’s up to you as the reader to pick out what is happening on each page. For instance early on in the book Homer the farmer has driven his tractor into a pond, so a mobile crane is helping him out. And on another page Piggy has driven his car into the sea, so he is slowly sinking. You also have to keep an eye out for Dingo Dog and Officer Flossy just to see how that little caper is getting along – and does she catch him in the end, well you’ll just have to wait and see.
It’s just little things like that that make the book unique – you don’t have to tell the main story to enjoy it, you can just look at all the illustrations and make up your own little stories. Especially if you have a child who won’t sit still for long – there are plenty of things in here to keep them entertained and for them to watch out for – one of them being Goldbug.
Goldbug is my favourite part of this book, he is a tiny little golden bug who appears on every page but he is usually hidden, and sometimes you can only see his head so you have to look very carefully. Goldbug is introduced on the 5th page, so you as the reader are now aware that he exists and the text states “It’s Goldbug. He shows up almost everywhere” – so now you are hooked and have to hunt him down on each page. You are reminded again a couple of times later on in the book to keep your eye out for him, just in case your concentration had wandered elsewhere. My 3 year old loves this aspect of the book and tries to find him on every page, she now knows without looking most of his locations, but there are still a few that catch her out.
I think the illustrations in this book are wonderful, there is so much detail and everything is labelled, so if you were wondering what that funny green wiggly thing on wheels is, then you only have to read underneath to find out that it is a caterpillar bus! When I look at a page, it kind of reminds of something which you may have doodled as a child whilst sat in a classroom – it’s just all the little extras like pies falling out of a truck, or flies buzzing about – I think a great deal of thought has gone into each page. Richard Scarry hasn’t just quickly thrown a few cars down on a page, he’s thought about what he wants to draw, drawn it, then added on loads of extras, to make it really interesting to look at, and I can see why children (and adults) love his books.
To be honest, I do love this book, I think it is a great book for sharing with your children, but if my daughter chooses it at bedtime I groan inwardly. And that’s because it is so blooming long – 48 pages, and those are 48 detailed pages that she wants to study in great detail before turning over onto the next one! So a bedtime story can be 30 minutes, instead of 5, which is not ideal for me.
But apart from that, I would definitely recommend this book to others with young children. I think 3 years old is probably the lowest age a child can really enjoy the book, because it is such a long story, and the illustrations are perhaps aimed at an older audience who can appreciate the comedy hidden amongst the pictures, and enjoy watching out for Dingo Dog, and searching for Goldbug.
What is nice is that instead of just reading a story as it is told on the page, with this book you actually have the opportunity to spend time interacting with your child and pointing out all the various things to see on the pages, and asking them to find things – it makes the book sharing experience a more precious one than perhaps it would be if you were just turning pages and reading the words (as I often do at bedtime, read a book as fast as possible so I can go downstairs and have some peace!)
If your child likes cars, then you should buy them this book, and probably every other Richard Scarry book you can find – they are well worth it. This one is available on Amazon for £4.61 (RRP £5.99)