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Transport and Travel Topic

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Transport and Journeys Topic Booklist

Toot toot! Beep beep! All Aboard! From buses and bicycles to ferries and flying machines, zoom into the vehicles and ‘things that go’ topic with our hand-picked selection of the best children’s books about transport and journeys…

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Books about cars, buses and trucks

John Birningham
This classic picture book, by the popular author John Birningham, is a story about sharing and helping others. The simple storyline follows a repeated structure and is accompanied by detailed illustrations. A great read for younger classes.
Jan and Jerry Oke
This is a photo book that has become very popular in Early Years and KS1! It follows the story of a boy's adventures with his toy bus, told through the voice of the bus itself. If you are looking for something a little bit different for your topic, we highly recommend this one!
Mike Smith
This is a really fun story popular with reception and KS1 classes. When the bus driver takes a different route one day, there are too many passengers to fit on the bus and the only solution is to add more and more decks. There is also a big fold-out page at the end showing the enormous bus.
Michelle Robinson
 & Jez Tuya
From Lollies Award-winning Michelle Robinson comes this busy story based on the tongue-twister, bursting with trucks, doggie drivers and colour! Red Lorry and Yellow Lorry must get to the construction site, but they have a snow-drift, a breakdown and a speeding tractor to contend with along the way... Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry: which one would you drive? Jam-packed with lorries, trucks, cars, motorbikes and all kinds of vehicles!
Katie Abey

A popular transport-themed book with oodles of funny things for children to spot and choose between.

Each page is themed around a different type of transport, from busses and trucks to emergency vehicles and rockets, and displays an array of different cartoon examples, while the reader is asked to choose which one they would ride. Added details make the act of choosing on each page really fun. On the trains page, for example, a steam train is filled with animals eating spaghetti and donuts, while an Elf Express is taking Lego to Santa’s workshop and a slick intercity train driven by a sloth ihas a swimming pool carriage but also a wolf disguised in grandma’s clothing.

Children who like ‘You Choose’ style books will enjoy poring over this over and over again, as will transport lovers and fans of funny animal characters. It’s a great book for getting children talking and interacting, or for poring over independently and spotting something new each time.

Books about trains

Benedict Blathwayt

When Duffy Driver leaves the brakes off, the Little Red Train sets off down the track without him! Duffy tries everything he can think of to catch up with the train, with a little help from a tractor, some horses, a boat and a helicopter.

An enjoyable story to read over and over again, and preschoolers will enjoy the gently unfolding journey narrative as well as relishing the chance to join in with the train noises and to spot all of the many details on the pages.

Emily Rand
A little girl and her mummy are visiting Grandpa on the train. It's very busy - hold on tight! But when they arrive at their destination something is wrong . . . teddy has gone missing. Just when it looks like she'll never see Teddy again, Grandpa has an idea! And suddenly the little girl is off on a magical journey to rescue her teddy. Have you ever wondered where your lost objects go? With charming and stylish illustrations, this books is perfect for curious minds.

Books about bikes

Quentin Blake
A hilarious story telling the tale of Mrs Armitage and her dog, Breakspear. Instead of enjoying a simple bicycle ride, the eccentric Mrs Armitage is constantly looking for ways of upgrading her bike. Soon it barely resembles a bicycle at all! A big hit with KS1.
Alison Farrell
A wonderful celebration of bicycles of all kinds! Etta the Elephant is taking a trip to her Aunt Ellen's house and passes through bicycle-filled Cycle City, filled with bikes of all shapes and sizes, and then gets to witness a brilliant bicycle parade. This is an engaging picture book with so many details to spot in the illustrations and a very good stimulus for generating discussion and descriptive writing.

Books about planes and rockets

Ken Wilson-Max

Astrid has loved space ever since she can remember and wants to be an astronaut when she grows up. Even when her dad gently reminds her of the challenges ahead (eating food out of a tube, getting used to near-zero gravity, sleeping on her own amongst the stars), she is confident – “I can do that!”

This is a story full of tenderness and adventure, with a lovely surprise ending when Astrid and Dad go to pick up Mum from the airbase – where has she been?

This gentle picture book with distinctive earthy illustrations is a lovely read-aloud for Reception/Year 1 with a wonderful inclusive message at its heart, supported by the mini fact-files about female and BAME astronauts at the end.

Katie Haworth
 & Daniel Rieley
Emma Jane takes a journey around the world in her aeroplane. She flies past impressive cities like Paris, Venice and New York, taking in the sites from above. But when her plane gets into trouble, can her animal friends find a way to help? The illustrations are highly appealing, the fun rhyming text is great for joining in with and it is important to see female pilots like Emma Jane represented in children's stories.
Isabel Sanchez Vegara
 & Maria Diamantes
Part of the Little People, Big Dreams series, this book provides a simple biography of Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly a plane all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, from her early childhood to her first flying lesson and on to her world famous career as a pilot.
Lonely Planet Kids, Tom Cornell & Clive Gifford
 & James Gulliver Hancock
Non-fiction Picturebook
Where does luggage go after check in? What happens in the control tower? How do planes actually fly? This interactive, lift-the-flap book takes you behind-the-scenes to uncover the hidden secrets of the airport - from a peek inside the cockpit to the hustle and bustle of departures. In this follow-up to How Cities Work , we explore the earliest airports through to today's giant transport hubs and what airports could look like in the future. Packed with amazing facts and illustrations from James Gulliver Hancock, it'll surprise and delight readers young and old, ensuring they never look at air travel in the same way again. Created in consultation with Tom Cornell, VP Airspace / Airfields, Americas at Landrum & Brown. Contents include: Airports Through the Ages The Great Get-to-the-Airport Race Find Your Way Round the Airport The Maintenance Hangar In the Terminal Inside an Aircraft The Control Tower Sees All Preparing Planes Ship That Cargo The Incredible Luggage Journey Airports of the Future

Books about journeys

Martin Howard
 & Christopher Corr
A World Full of Journeys tells some of the most fascinating stories of migration throughout history. From the very first humans who left Africa almost 70,000 years ago and moved around the world, to immigrants welcomed to America at Ellis Island, this book is packed with fascinating tales of human triumph. Beautifully illustrated with bright pictures and maps detailing these ' journeys bring these stories to life. This is a detailed anthology that can be dipped into be classes learning about journeys and is perfect for readers who want to explore the fascinating stories of the people who have crossed the world.
Matt de la Pena
 & Christian Robinson
Winner of numerous awards, this picture book follows CJ and his grandmother as they make a bus journey across town. As they chat about what is important in life, the pair take in the truly diverse city scape, encountering a multitude of passengers and passers-by of all demographics. The story of the journey and the striking illustrations come together to positively depict a world wherein cultural divisions and segregation can find no place to land and difference is celebrated for its enriching cultural effect.
Aaron Becker

A beautiful, award-winning wordless picture book. It follows the journey of a young girl who draws a magic door in her bedroom and travels through fantasy worlds by boat, balloon and magic carpet. Highly recommended for pupils across the whole primary range.

Oliver Jeffers

This is the endearing story of a boy and the journey he undertakes to return a lost penguin to its South Pole home. This simple story with beautiful illustrations is a popular choice for children in the preschool years and beyond.

At its heart, the story is about caring for others and going above and beyond to help somebody in need. Children love the penguin character and the warm resolution of this journey-home narrative.

Transport and Travel: Non-Fiction Books

Emily Bone
 & Daniel Taylor
A stunning atlas with 15 beautifully illustrated maps for children to pore over. Young explorers can discover the countries, continents, oceans, mountains and ice caps of our amazing planet and learn where different animals and people live. There are fascinating facts about each country, plus flags and capital cities and an index of place names.
Moira Butterfield
 & Bryony Clarkson
A vibrant celebration of things that go, with a lively text from author Moira Butterfield and pictures from debut-talent Bryony Clarkson. Come and hitch a ride in vehicles of every shape and size - from family cars to double-decker buses, chugging tractors to speedy supercars, and gigantic monster-trucks to noisy fire engines. With bounce-along rhythms and fascinating facts from author Moira Butterfield, and bright, lively pictures by rising star Bryony Clarkson, any single reading of My Big Book of Transport is sure to result in a victory lap or two!
William Bee

Children who love vehicles will adore Wonderful World of Things That Go.

With diagram-style illustrations of trucks, trains, boats, planes, tractors and farm machines, there are plenty of transport-themed facts to consider. Each page is adorned with cute cartoon animals and traffic cone characters who add to the fun of the book.

This information book for younger children helps readers to consider the purpose of each type of machine, including what jobs they help to do and what the essential parts of each moving machine are. The short sentences on each page give the information in a matter-of-fact way so as not to overwhelm young learners, while the pictures offer plenty to spot and discuss.

A winner of a non-fiction book on a very popular topic among children in their younger school years.

Tom Schamp

This incredibly visual book is partly a history of the development of all things wheels around the world, and partly a guide to all types of vehicles from bikes to emergency vehicles.

It starts with the Stone Age and ends with predictions for future travel and in between, each and every way a human has moved with the aid of a wheel is described. Each double spread focuses on one aspect of travel, for example, ‘taxis’, and is full of drawings, surrounded by short facts, many puns, comments, questions and even instructions. Any reader young or old will revisit pages and discover something new each time such as when the first motorcycle was built or what spoilers do.

This book is certainly fun: there are drawings of animals as users of the vehicles with many different expressions and quotes and jokes, and the author has fun with the visuals – a chicken being chased by a snake which means the chicken tows a cart more quickly, for example! Although this book could be enjoyed independently by any age, it lends itself beautifully as a book to share and dip into and it is likely that plenty of discussion will arise.

There is so much to look at that this transport-themed book will most likely remain on a favourite browsing choice for some time.

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