This summer I mentioned two picture books about cars that are a lot of fun to read. Well, here are two more books that are sure to please any kids who have a thing for wheels. They’re even interactive!
Under the Hood by Cristophe Merlin is a lift-the-flaps book about Mr. Bear and his car. There’s not a really strong plot here: Mr. Bear needs to fix his car. But there’s a lot of humor tucked away under all the flaps, particularly with Mouse, who always ends up asleep in some hidden spot.
The illustrations are delightful and they really look like something from an earlier era, particularly on the cream-colored paper. The best part of the book, though, is the flaps. Both my girls love flipping flaps — my five-year-old especially — and the great part about Under the Hood is that there are multi-level flaps on several of the pages. One example, above, shows Mr. Bear opening the garage, then flipping up the tarp, then opening the door of the car.
Or take this page: After peeking around in the trunk, behind the door, and under the hood, Mr. Bear puts the car on the lift — and the entire page unfolds upward, resulting in a poster-sized image (with one more flap to uncover). I love all the little details that are scattered throughout the pictures, and no matter how many times we read it my younger daughter still finds it funny whenever Mouse turns up.
Amazing Pop-Up Trucks by Robert Crowther is a pop-up book that only has five types of trucks in it, but, oh, what trucks they are! The book itself is very large to begin with, but each spread focuses on one truck and has an oversized pop-up.
Much has been made of digital books and the way they add a level of interactivity that isn’t possible with paper books, and that is true. However, there’s something mind-boggling about opening up a book and having a huge physical paper structure pop up at you that no animation (3D or otherwise) can reproduce.
What is especially impressive about Amazing Pop-Up Trucks is not only their size, but that nearly all of the pop-ups have moving parts as well: the Monster Truck can actually be pulled forward to “crush” the car in front of it. The garbage truck’s back gate opens up. The car transporter has a slide-out ramp for the top level.
Next to each of the pop-ups is a good deal of text about the trucks, along with some flaps to open for more details. If you’ve got a kid who loves big trucks, they’ll be delighted with this book.
I should mention that due to the size of these, the paper structures can be a little finicky and I wouldn’t recommend the book for very young kids. You know if your child is likely to be gentle or if they’ll try to tear the truck out of the book, but they do need to take care handling the moving parts.
Both books are just out this week from Candlewick Press, who provided review copies for GeekDad.
UNDER THE HOOD. Copyright © 2011 by Albin Michel Jeunesse. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.
AMAZING POP-UP TRUCKS. Copyright © 2011 by Robert Crowther. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA on behalf of Walker Books, London.