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Mighty Machines: Airplanes, by Mary Lindeen -- A Children's Story Book for Kids with Pictures Review
Average book that young kids may enjoy
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The reviewed book. Great for early readers and kids who love looking at airplanes.
It’s official – my son is no longer “truck crazy,” but instead “engine crazy.” Anything with any sort of engine captures his complete attention and imagination. At only 3 ½ years old, he is fairly particular about the books that I read to him in that while the text has to be interesting enough to catch his attention, the pictures absolutely must as well. This is definitely a challenge because early reader books don’t really concentrate on having an engaging story. Anything younger doesn’t have interesting enough pictures for him, and since he’s not quite reading yet the story still have to have enough substance to be interesting while listening.
Airplanes, by Mary Lindeen, was kind of a shoo-in for his next book selection thanks to the previous success we’ve had with other Mighty Machines books. In 17 pages, this book covers the basics of airplanes – their primary parts, what they carry, and how passengers can board the plane. Each page has a picture that stretches across the entire two-page spread, accompanied by a small block of text explaining the picture. The end of the book includes a short glossary for children to review and better understand the words that they’ve learned.
The first issue I had with this book is that there was a lot of repetition in the text, and little actual substance. For instance, “A jumbo jet has big jet engines. Jet engines help this jumbo jet fly.” While this simple format may come in useful for a child just learning how to read because each word is repeated at least a couple of times, it’s just a little bit too simplistic for a child that’s only listening to the story.
Only about half of the book’s pictures were very impressive. Some really show off the jet or airplane depicted, but others make it difficult to even see what they are. Despite having been through a pilot training course, even I had to look twice at a picture of the cockpit to figure out what it was. Instead of showing the pilot’s seat, or the pilot, or anything else a small child might recognize, all it shows is the instrument panel. Through the front window there is only white, not even any kind of sky. A couple of other pictures depicting the airport, passengers, etc. were a bit disappointing.
One feature that is a little better than average, though, is the glossary. This book’s glossary includes more than the average number of words for the series, including airport, cockpit, jet engines, jumbo jet, passenger, pilot, propeller, and runway. While the explanations are pretty straightforward if the child has actually seen an airport, it took a little bit of work for me – especially since my son didn’t even have decent pictures of some of the things for reference.
Overall, I’d class this book as a minor success; it just didn’t keep his interest as well as other books, especially other Mighty Machines books. Some of that could be because he doesn’t see airplanes and airports every day like he does trucks and bulldozers, and he does seem to prefer things that he can link to the real world. Perhaps once he actually starts reading then this book will be back under consideration, but until that time I’ll stick to books that he can relate to a little better.
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