Book Review: Tractors, and Planes, by Catherine Foreman

Both of these books are available in bookstores now.

I was delighted to get these two new releasescv_planes from Scholastic NZ, both part of a new series called ‘Machines and me’. As a mother of two boys, I consider myself something of an expert on books about machines, and these did not fail to delight. Catherine Foreman won the Children’s Choice award for her book The Cat’s Pyjamas in the 2012 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, and she was a good choice for this series.

Catherine has written both books in an easy, smooth rhyme, which trips off the tongue when reading aloud, and is not in the least contrived. Each book has also got an aspirational ending, which makes them slightly different from other books of their ilk, as the child is encouraged to use his/her imagination actively.
Planes begins by explaining what a plane does in easy words, then describes different types of planes. Planes with stripes and planes with lips, and planes that even land on ships is my favourite line from this one. The illustrations are clear and obvious, reflecting exactly on the words, with just enough flourishes to keep it interesting for a toddler. My nearly-3-year-old adored this, and the backgrounds on each image kept him asking questions, which is fantastic.

I really enjoyed the illustrations in Tractors, with the Fred Dagg and Andy Capp-like characters driving their tractors with their hats pulled over their eyes. While Catherine’s technical skill isn’t good enough to pull off an interior view of a tractor, the character of the books as a whole carries over this factor.

Both books would lend themselves well to baby board books, as early introductory readers, and I am certain they will sell well into the international market. A great couple of books, recommended for ages 1-5.

Reviewed by Sarah Forster

by Catherine Foreman
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775431602

by Catherine Foreman
Published by Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775431619