Bookbug Detective: expectant siblings and transport books

The Little Red Train
Category: Parents

Last month, we welcomed the Bookbug Detective onto our blog. Thank you to everyone who has sent in their questions so far. The Detective has selected a couple of questions to answer below. If you've got a question about picture books or early years reading, get in touch!

I have a two year old and I'm expecting my second child. Do you have any recommendations for expectant siblings?

It can be really difficult for a child to adapt to a new member of the family and books are a great way to introduce the idea. There are some really lovely stories available at the moment that will help you with this. The one that I most frequently recommend is Giles Andreae’s There’s a House Inside my Mummy. It’s a really nice, simple story told from a little boy’s point of view and it explains in a very uncomplicated way what’s going to happen when the baby arrives. John Burningham’s There’s Going to be a Baby is another lovely one. Other suggestions are Topsy and Tim: the New Baby and Usborne’s The New Baby. Or if you’d like a quirkier one, Mummy Laid an Egg by Babette Cole is good fun.

Check out more suggestions on our New Baby! Book List here.

My 3 year old son is absolutely obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine books. I’ve tried introducing other stories (Julia Donaldson etc) but he’s just not interested. What would you suggest as alternatives?

First of all, don’t worry that this is all he’s reading at the moment. He will grow out of it eventually, and repetition of stories is actually very beneficial to children (although I’m sure it’s driving you mad). Perhaps at bedtime you could say that you’re going to try a different book first and then you can read a Thomas book afterwards.

Cars and Trucks and Things that Go by Richard Scarry
If he likes Thomas, you could try some other books with trains in them. The Little Red Train books by Benedict Blathwayt are really good – they have a wonderful old-fashioned quality to them but are so appealing to children – the stories are really fun and there’s so much to look at on every page. I also really like And the Train Goes by William Bee and Oi’ Get Off Our Train by John Burningham.

I also absolutely love the Richard Scarry books. There are lots of these to choose from but in particular I’d recommend Cars and Trucks and Things that Go (pictured right) and Planes and Rockets and Things That Fly. There is so much to explore and discuss in these books – hopefully you’ll find that they’ll engage your son’s interest and provide hours of fun.

And don’t forget there are a lot of fantastic non-fiction books too which can be a great way to engage a reluctant reader. Usborne and DK in particular publish some excellent books on trains and other vehicles that are suitable for young children. A few suggestions are: See Inside Trains by Usborne, which has lift the flaps to explore; Trains (Usborne Beginners); Farmyard Tales Wind-up Train Book which includes simple stories as well as a train track and wind-up train! Please do get back in touch if you need further suggestions.

Do you have a question for the Bookbug Detective? Email it to

Kirsty Sinclair

Kirsty Sinclair is the Early Years Outreach Co-ordinator for Scottish Book Trust.