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A dozen great books for kids who love trucks/cars/"mighty machines" etc. Our favorites are #s 1, 2, 11 and 12!

Honk! Books for Your Truck/Train/Car-Loving Child

After the popularity of Princess Books You’ll Actually Want Your Daughter to Read, Janssen and I knew we had to do a list for the boys.  We settled on vehicles because that’s what the little guys in our lives are into (and my little girl as well – of course this list is for both genders).  Hope you enjoy this roundup – #1, 2, 11, and 12 are especially popular at our house.

Last summer, my sister and I were driving in the car together, with no children. I interrupted her mid-sentence to say, “Look! There’s a . . . ” and then I realized she probably didn’t care that there was a cow grazing in a pasture.

She laughed and told me that she and her husband find themselves pointing out construction vehicles to each other, by their proper name, when they are out without their little boys. It’s funny to see what things you start noticing when your child is really into a certain topic.

If, like my nephews, vehicles are what your children love, these ten books will probably be wildly popular at your house. Plus, many of them will give you (or your child) a chance to show off all the technical names of vehicles you know!

  1. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld. Who would have guessed that bedtime rhymes and cement Mixers, bulldozers, and excavators would mix so well? Each of the vehicles settles in to rest at the construction site after a busy day.
  2. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton. This is the classic vehicle book in my mind. The gorgeous illustrations and the sweet story about Mike’s mission to prove his beloved steam shovel isn’t antiquated has been a favorite for generations.
  3. Fire Truck by Peter Sis. What could be better than waking up to discover you are a fire truck? Flashing lights, speedy tires, and emergencies to solve, it’s a pretty good life for a little boy. But when pancakes show up on the breakfast table, it might be time to turn back into a human.
  4. Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld. I love this wacky book about various matchups between a shark and a train. The train might be better speeding through the flat desert, but the shark wins a diving contest every time. And who is a better at ping pong? Or bowling?
  5. The Caboose Who Got Loose by Bill Peet. This book, about a caboose who is tired of being last, is written by the peerless Bill Pete, who worked for years at Disney as an animator and screenwriter. His style works just as well on paper as it did on the screen.
  6. That’s How! By Chistoph Niemann. This clever book shows two kids checking out a bunch of different vehicles and wondering how they work. One of the children has all sorts of wild ideas about what’s inside that makes them run. My daughter and I giggled through every page.
  7. Trucks Go by Steve Light. For your very youngest truck enthusiast, this book features all the sounds of various trucks, in a simply-illustrated board book format.
  8. Machines Go to Work by William Low. Showcasing nine different machines in gorgeous detail, this book with giant flaps shows all the kinds of things machines can be used for.
  9. I’m Fast! by by Kate McMullan and Jim McMullan. A race between a train and a zippy little race car through the desert, over the mountains, and into the city will keep you guessing until the last page. Who will win?
  10. Truck Stuck by Sallie Wolf  and Andy Robert Davies. When a truck gets stuck under a bridge, the whole community gathers around trying to figure out how to get it unstuck!
  11. Little Blue Truck – A muddy country road is no match for this little pick up–that is, until he gets stuck while pushing a dump truck out of the muck. Luckily, Blue has made a pack of farm animal friends along his route. And they’re willing to whatever it takes to get their pal back on the road. Filled with truck sounds and animals noises, here is a rollicking homage to the power of friendship and the rewards of helping others
  12. Trucks Roll by George Ella Lyon.  With its rhyming text and bold illustrations, Trucks Roll! invites kids along on a day in a trucker’s life and shows that many things we enjoy depend on the trucker’s work.

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Janssen is a former librarian and avid reader who is always maxing out her library card. She now stays at home with her two-year-old daughter (with another girl on the way) and blogs about books for readers of all ages, her favorite recipes, and parenting adventures at Everyday Reading.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Ellee May 20, 2013 at 9:19 am

Really? This is your recommended reading list for boys? And it follows an equally gender driven one for girls?

I cannot tell you how surprised I am that you chose to produce and recommend such limited reading lists.


Steph (MPMK Founder) May 20, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Hi Ellee,

I’m not sure why you think this list is only for boys – it says in the intro. “and my little girl as well – of course this list is for both genders”.

Also, the point of this list isn’t to suggest this is ALL little boys should be reading – it’s to give parents ideas on how to get their vehicle-loving kids excited about reading. We will continue to provide lots of lists on all sorts of themed topics, as we’ve already been doing with posts such as Top Reads for Spring, Love-ly Valentine Reads, etc.



Faigie May 20, 2013 at 4:49 pm

I just spent some time at my daughters and read her 6 yr old the caboose who got loose. Believe it or not I felt the language was way over his head…I had to do a lot of explaining


Janssen May 20, 2013 at 5:37 pm


I tried to do a range of books, age-wise, on this list. Some are very simple board-books, while others are aimed at older kids. If you click through the Amazon links, you’ll can see the suggested age range for each book, which might be helpful.


Stephanie May 21, 2013 at 2:01 am

Thank you so much for a great list! I’ve put several of these on my library “wants”, with many of your other great recommendations. My kids love vehicles and reading, this list is a great combo.


Lauren May 23, 2013 at 11:10 pm

Great list!! You have to add truckery rhymes by Scieszka, it is so incredibly cute!


Jessica May 29, 2013 at 7:44 am

This is a great list. My little guy LOVES trucks and trains. I’d add to your list Red Truck by Kersten Hamilton. We read this as a “fire up” book and in the end the tow truck saves the day. So cute. Thanks for the list.


Mary May 29, 2013 at 4:43 pm

My daughter loves the classic “Freight Train” by Dnald Crews. It’s colorful and a quick read.

W also love Byron Barton’s books. We got some from the library and had to get our own when she was around 18 months. I can highly recommend “Airplanes”, “Trucks”, “Boats”, “Trains” and “My Car.”


Steph (MPMK Founder) May 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Thanks for the recommendations Mary. We loved Freight Train when my son was younger too, totally forgot about it!


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