Summertime equates to getting outside and driving to places of interest – or just for vacation. It’s also the time that traffic is slowed or stopped due to repair work on roads and freeways. Here are some great picture books about transportation. Unless otherwise stated, all of these books are good for ages 3 to 7.

image 2Things That Go, by Clive Gifford, and brilliantly illustrated by Peter Bull Art Studio, is packed with many types of vehicles from cars to trains to planes. The brilliant aspect of this 32 page book is that it takes the reader way beyond observing the photo of the vehicle. Each section compiles an open spread and briefly describes the category. Turning to the next open spread goes into more detail of that specific category. For instance, “Riding the waves” briefly describes ships and boats. Upon turning the page, you learn more about the concept of boating and diving. The other cool thing about this, and other books in this “Explorers” series, are the four icons found throughout that help readers learn more according to their interests. Multimedia information is also found at the back. This book is best suited for ages 7 and up.

Tons of Trucks, by Sue Fliess, and brightly painted by Betsy Snyder, is a board-book-style with parts of trucks that actually move. The yellow backhoe scoops and digs by pushing the tab on the crane, the green cement part of a truck turns by moving the wheel and the fire truck becomes twice the size by pulling the tab.

image 3Rescue: Pop-Up Emergency Vehicles, by one of my favorite paper-engineers: Matthew Reinhart. Mr. Reinhart has a new series of pop-up books geared for little hands that won’t rip or ruin the pop-up so youngsters, ages 2 to 5, can actually interact with the book. This particular book features vehicles, such as an ambulance and a police car that help save people.

Woody Guthrie’s Riding In My Car, illustrated by Scott Menchin, features the famous folksinger’s song as the text of this interactive book. Mr. Menchin takes you on a ride through some famous and beautiful parts of our country as if you’re driving in a car and sight-seeing. Every page includes several pull or lift tabs and/or pop-ups. Some of the locations are the Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty.

image 4Road Work Ahead, by Anastasia Suen, and brightly illustrated by Jannie Ho, is a clever book showing the many different types of trucks used to build roads. A family discovers this as they are held up in traffic as road crews work and drive a variety of trucks all around them.

Demolition, by Sally Sutton, and painting the entire page with pigmented inks by Brian Lovelock, is not only filled with giant trucks hard at work but the words move with great leaps as page after page is filled with loud impact sounds. The text rhymes, and the onomatopoeias are everywhere and will explode off the pages.

image 5Subway Story, by Julia Sarcone-Roach, is based on a true story of a 1960’s subway car that eventually became obsolete for newer, sleeker cars. Now what would happen to this subway car, nicknamed Jessie? Subway cars from other countries used their old cars to provide homes and shelter, some used them for museums and even restaurants. But Jessie ended up deep in the ocean to be used for artificial reefs. The vibrant acrylic painted illustrations fill each page. Find out more information in the back of the book.

image 6Under the Hood, by Merlin, involves problems Mr. Bear is experiencing with his car. This interactive book asks the reader to help make decisions on every page by lifting all the flaps and coming up with solutions by observing what’s under each flap. The acrylic illustrations have a retro feel as you attempt to help Mr. Bear. There’s even a complete open-up page that doubles in size. This book is great fun!

imageGrandpa’s Tractor, by Michael Garland, is a sweet and insightful story beginning with a boy, Timmy, heading with his Grandpa to see Grandpa’s farm and an old tractor that is now in shambles. There are rows of houses now where Grandpa’s acres used to be. But Grandpa reflects and tells Timmy life back when his good old “red tractor” ran and was extremely useful and important. You see a year passing in images of the many jobs that tractor completed that made it so vital to the livelihood of Grandpa and others. More interesting information is found in the back about these tractors.

Just Fine the Way They Are: From Dirt Roads to Rail Roads to Interstates, by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge, and beautifully painted with landscapes rich and full by Richard Walz, is a most interesting look back into the history of roads back in the 1800’s. These dirt roads were originally made by wagons and trailers pulled by animals. Eventually the railroads made their way throughout the country and then gradually interlocking intestates. Each era has the refrain that things were “just fine the way they are”. This fascinating book has more information found in the back and is good for ages 7 and up.