Book Review: Boats, and Trains, by Catherine Foreman

These books are available in bookstores.

These two books are a continuations of the ‘Machines and Me’ series released by Scholastic NZ in mid-2013, reviewed here.  Each of the books has an explanation of different types of machines and what they do, with a simple message about using your imagination at the end.

cv_boatsBoats has some great illustrations, particularly that of riverboat and the hulls of different boats. It introduces different types of boats and their parts to youngsters, and widens their minds as to what constitutes a boat. My 3yo particularly liked the idea of whale-watching in boats, and I love the illustration on this page, showing the whales cheekily hiding directly underneath the boat. It is missing one favourite boat however – a submarine.

While Boats relies largely on the diversity ofcv_trains types of boats, Trains has to get a bit more creative, as there isn’t the simplicity with train types that exist with boats. The explanations are limited to steam trains and electric trains, mini trains and underground trains – also fair and zoo trains. This widening is good, as Foreman has added counting games and colour games within the story as well, adding further depth to the toddler-focussed series.

Overall, this is a well-designed and written series which will find a market wherever it is picked up. There can never be too many books about modes of transport, or indeed, machines.

Reviewed by Sarah Forster

Boats
by Catherine Foreman
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775431596

Trains
by Catherine Foreman
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775431626

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