All Aboard the Numbers Train / All Aboard the Shapes Train

All Aboard the Numbers Train
All Aboard the Shapes Train

Sean Sims
Oxford University Press Children’s Books

Based on topics popular with little ones, these two All Aboard titles of a new thematic series are intended to support the early learning goals.
The Numbers Train is in fact a spacecraft that moves through the sky taking six small children and their canine companion on an exploration of the cosmos.

There’s so much to see including rockets, planets, evidence that others have been there too, aliens – of the friendly fun-loving variety fortunately –

and that only takes us as far as number five.

By the time we reach ten the passengers have left their train and are stretching their legs beneath the stars. Back inside again there’s a wealth of number symbols (1-10) on the various levers, dials and other instruments to spot and then it’s time for the countdown before the train leaves for home.

On the return journey there’s an opportunity to count in tens as they whizz past the 100 guiding stars and the penultimate spread maps the entire trip asking ‘Can you remember the numbers we saw on the way?’

No space attire needed on the second ride; the Shapes Train, with its variously 2D shaped windows takes its passengers (and readers) on a journey to the world of playtime, searching for shapes, and the patterns they can create.

We start with circles: ‘There are circles everywhere! The bubbles, balls and bugs are circles.’ says the text. Yes, that is how they’re represented in Sean Sim’s alluring, brightly coloured scene of the train’s first stop but this could be confusing for young learners as foundation stage teachers (certainly this one) would say that bubbles and balls are spheres (3D shapes) not circles (2D shapes).

Other shapes included are squares, triangles,

rectangles, diamonds, as well as semi-circles, ovals, pentagons, hexagons, stars and spirals.

This promises to be a bright, jolly series with lots of learning potential but use the Shapes Train judiciously.

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