Sunday, September 4, 2016

Busy Wheels series

Busy Wheels (series)
written by Mandy Archer and Peter Bently; illustrated by Martha Lightfoot
2016 (QEB Publishing)
Source: Review copies provided by the publisher

Tractor chugs down to the meadow. Dog jumps out and opens the gate. It's time to feed the cows!

There are some relationships that are pure gold. Peanut butter and chocolate. Sherlock and Dr. Watson. Bacon and eggs. Add another pairing to this list of partner perfection. Vehicles operated by animals in the Busy Wheels series. Really young readers love animals and they love their diggers, farm machines, and trucks. Surprisingly, the stars of these shows are the vehicles which is great because you can pull in nonfiction text features such as labels of truck or tractor parts to go with the story. Driving these charming chariots, the animals do good deeds as part of their daily routine. Then, a problem arises. So now, in addition to nonfiction you can talk about how fiction texts work. It's like a buy one, get one deal at the grocery store. You get nonfiction and fiction in your literacy cart. For example, in Monster Truck Mountain Rescue, a mouse puts on his fireproof suit and safety helmet to drive in a rally. Words like obstacle and suspension appear in the text and they're supported by the illustrations so young eyes and ears can connect and learn big terms. Mouse smashes over a bunch of cars to win the contest. As he's driving home with his prize, the road is blocked by emergency vehicles. A climber is stuck on a nearby mountain and it's too windy for a helicopter to land and rescue the stranded mountaineer. It's time for animal and vehicle to become the solution to this problem. As Mouse makes his way, he's aided by vivid verbs like races and plunges and examples of onomatopoeia like vroom and splosh. So now you can add making your writing more interesting to the list of mini-lesson uses filled by this series. Mouse rescues the mountain climber with a daring river jump which is followed by an ending two page spread of a monster truck with labels.

I am impressed with how the authors use the vehicles to tell engaging small stories and thoughtfully include challenging vocabulary and nonfiction labels. In addition, the illustrations are full of bright colors, cute animals, and interesting landscapes. The Busy Wheels series races across the finish line a winner!

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