What we’re reading: William Bee’s Wonderful World of Tractors and Farm Machines

Could you tell a cultivator from a combine harvester?

While I could hazard a guess, my three-year-old could not only identify both but confidently spot a thresher and a baler too.

Like most small people his age, Baby Bookworm has a penchant for machines that move.

His first love was helicopters. We would take him to York Racecourse to see the horses, but it was the mechanical majesty of the helicopters that transported the jockeys and VIPs that he was transfixed by.

Then after a holiday to Tenerife, all he wanted to do was watch YouTube videos of Ryanair planes taking off and landing. It was a great way to buy an extra 15 minutes in bed in the morning.

Now his heart has been stolen by the good old tractor.

This adoration is probably a combination of nature and nurture. My dad learned to drive a tractor at 13 on a relative’s farm and has a passion for a Massey Ferguson, so it is definitely in the genes.

But Baby Bookworm has also watched countless hours of hand-me-down Tractor Ted DVDs at my in-laws’ house, a gentle documentary series about farm life that is surprisingly soothing.

All of which makes William Bee’s Wonderful World of Tractors and Farm Machines our absolute go-to book at bedtime (or any time) right now.

It’s an engaging guide to the different type of vehicles you might find on the farm, with simple explanations of their role, importance and history.

A sort-of Top Gear for toddlers, but with less machismo and middle-aged men.

Enigmatic illustrator William Bee – a self-proclaimed petrolhead who lives in the countryside – has reimagined himself as a mini farmer, acting as main character and narrator for the book.

He’s assisted by a cast of magical cones, Sparky the dog and some farm animals.

The artwork is bold and bright, in rich primary colours and with a strong graphic feel. There’s plenty for children to spot and the images of the machines look very accurate, certainly to a non-expert like me.

There’s a ton of detail to spot and discuss, which will really engage your child.

The information feels authoritative too, and the sleeve notes name check two farming consultants – impressive stuff.

After the story element, there are extra pages of farm facts, showing how a combine harvester and a windmill work. Not only is Baby Bookworm learning something new, but we certainly have too.

The series also includes William Bee’s Wonderful World of Trucks and William Bee’s Wonderful World of Trains and Boats and Planes.

I think we’ll be investing in the latter as after visiting the National Railway Museum the other week, Baby Bookworm’s latest obsession seems to be the Shinkansen bullet train from Japan.

Boys and their toys, eh?

William Bee’s Wonderful World of Tractors and Farm Machines is out in paperback now. £6.99, Pavilion.  Available from Amazon

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Answer your child’s burning questions about the world with the Baby 101 series

Make flu season fun with Usborne’s What Are Germs? lift-the-flap book

 

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