________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 4. . . .September 30, 2016


Ride the Big Machines in Winter.

Carmen Mok.
Toronto, ON: HarperCollins, 2016.
28 pp., board book, $12.99.
ISBN 978-1-44345-048-5.

Preschool / Ages 1-4.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

*** /4



I’m going exploring
through wild winter weather.

How will I do it?
Let’s go together!


Ride the Big Machines in Winter consists of 13 double-page spreads. The first spread introduces the narrator, a young boy, who is going to go outside to experience the “wild winter weather”, and he invites readers to join him. The next 11 spreads see him operating vehicles, machines or modes of transportation usually connected with winter. Some of these, such as a snowplow, a salting/sanding truck, a Ski-Doo and a Zamboni, will likely be familiar to the board book’s young “readers”. Depending on where a child lives in Canada, s/he may have encountered a ski hill snow cannon, a hovercraft, a glacier snowcoach, a snowcat, a locomotive snow spreader, an airport de-icer or a semi-trailer on an ice road. And some may even have had a dogsled ride. The closing spread shows the boy, his “trip safely over”, sitting with his family around the dinner table and likely recounting the day’s experiences.

     Ride the Big Machines in Winter is a thematic board book, and, as such, it does not have a plot, and so each spread stands alone. The boy’s changing headwear suggests that he didn’t really carry out all of the book’s activities in a single day. The brief, simple text, rendered in rhyming couplets, provides but a single “naming/purpose” line (“I’ll steer a snowcat to help groom the trails”) for each spread, with the exceptions being the opening and closing spreads that have a full couplet. Youngsters will have fun finding the boy’s dog which appears somewhere in each spread. While each “machine” is foregrounded, the spreads’ backgrounds offer details for young readers to explore during return readings. The backgrounds also suggest where, geographically speaking, the machine might be found in use.

     For youngsters who like “machines”, Ride the Big Machines in Winter will be a welcome choice.


Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, aka “Winterpeg”, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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