Monday, September 28, 2009

Trucktown - great series for little guys (ages 3 - 6)

For those kids who love to knock down blocks and then stack them up so they can knock them down again, Jon Scieszka's new series Trucktown is perfect for them. I love Uh-Oh, Max, a book perfect for little guys learning to read.
Uh-Oh, Max
Ready-to-Roll, level 1
written by Jon Scieszka
illustrated by the Design Garage
NY: Aladdin Paperbacks, 2009.
ages 3 - 6
Jon Scieska (rhymes with Fresca) created this series for preschoolers and kindergartners based on trucks that act just like those little guys. As he writes in the introduction,
"If you were a loud and funny and excited truck, would you want to learn to read by always hearing quiet stories about farm animals? I didn't think so.  And if you were a loud and funny and excited young reader, what do you think you would want to read? Exactly - a book about trucks.  Trucks acting just like you."
In this story, Monster Truck Max zooms, jumps and flies to the max - until he flips over and gets stuck!  Uh, oh - how will he get out?

His friends have to come try to help him.  Jack Truck tries to push Max.  Grader Kat digs. But Max is stuck, really stuck.  Finally, Tow Truck Ted hooks and flips Max.  "Hurray for Ted!"

Uh-Oh, Max creates a fun, exciting story with simple words.  So often I hear the complaint that their little kids want to read books that are fun and exciting, and when they're just beginning to read the books are so boring.  This would be perfect for brand-new readers who want crazy illustrations, but words they can have success reading.

The colorful illustrations are over-the-top and engaging. Max's crazy, fun personality is conveyed through his wild leaps and jumps, and his friends try to help out in their own ways.

Do your little ones like to play on the computer?  Check out the site for Trucktown: great sound effects, posters to print or color, and some fun games.  My favorite is Smash!Crash! being read aloud. My only wish: that the games incorporated some early literacy skills.

Jon Sciezka is the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, and a tireless advocate to help get boys reading.  He is the author of many of my favorite books, including Knucklehead, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, and Guys Write for Guys Read.  He also created Guys Read, a web-based literacy program for boys. Its mission is to help boys become self-motivated, lifelong readers.  It's a fantastic resource to check out.  For a great description of Trucktown and Guys Read, check out the article by Steven Williams on the BookMarc blog.

Find this book at your local bookstore or library.  It's also available on Amazon.  If you make a purchase by clicking through to Amazon, Great Kid Books receives a small percentage, which will be used to buy more books to review.

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