Book Reviews

Kitten Corner: Diggers and Rockets

Things that go vroom are having a real moment in our house, so I thought I’d round up a few books about building sites and spaceships that are sure to entertain a little one who loves to see how things work! All of these books were sent to me free of charge for review, but they’ve been extensively road-tested (pun intended!) and all opinions are my own.

Curious Kids: Stars and Space by Christiane Engel, from Little Tiger

This book is gorgeous. It’s full of beautiful pop-ups that have everything from galaxies to astronauts springing to life in beautiful bright colours. It’s jam-packed with facts, too, and between the delicate pop-up mechanisms and the level of information, this is definitely one best suited to slightly older kids who can a) be trusted not to tear it and b) understand the vocab and longer sentence construction. It would make a great read-together book, too, and will definitely have budding astronauts spouting off space facts. The artwork is really vibrant and appealing – I particularly love the pop-up of a comet racing through the stars. And bonus points for featuring female astronauts as well as male. This is a delight of a book.

How it works: Rocket by Amelia Hepworth and David Semple, from Little Tiger.

Keeping with the space theme, here’s a book aimed slightly younger in both construction and writing style, but still full of cool facts and illustrations! This one is a little bit sturdier, more of a traditional board book, and each page has a shaped cut-out that reveals slightly more of the rocket – it’s a really cool way to show the rocket shedding parts as it travels. Again, we have a balance of male and female astronauts, which is great to see. There’s also a little mouse to spot in each picture, which adds some fun! I really enjoyed the bright, bold artwork, and would love to get hold of more in this series.

Make Tracks: Building Site by Johnny Dyrander, from Nosy Crow

Moving on to something a little more earthbound, this book has such a cool concept! Each spread shows you a vehicle you might find on a building site, and explains about its job and its machinery, and then has a page with an embedded track that you can move that vehicle around using a sliding disc. It’s very clever, and hugely fun for little fingers to “drive” – a couple of the tracks have central islands that can be pulled off quite easily, and I admit I’ve had to take the glue-stick to a couple of pages, so this is probably one to save for toddlers who are past the ‘pull everything as hard as you can’ stage. That’s not to say it’s not well-made or well-designed because it really is, it’s just always a possibility with moving paper parts. But for little ones who can play gently, this will provide an enormous amount of entertainment!

What Can You See on a Building Site? by Kate Ware and Maria Perera, from Little Tiger

This is another book that puts cutouts to great use, with sneak peeks at all different stages of a building site. Each spread is full of fun details to spot and simple explanations of the jobs, machines, and tools you might find on a building site – it shows much more than just diggers and bricklaying! There’s a few building sites near us, so it’s nice to be able to point out things we might have seen on our walks. There’s also a different cat to find in each scene, which is an addition which will always make me smile! The pages are nice and thick so even with the cut-outs, it feels like it will withstand a lot of poking and pulling – I think this one will keep holding interest as the building sites nearby keep changing!

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