Friday, May 20, 2016

Learning from Picture Books – TRAINBOTS

Robots and trains in the same book? What a cool idea! This one reminded me a bit of the classic story The Little Engine That Could by Wally Piper, but with a very modern approach.

Summary from the publisher:

Trainbots are getting ready to make and deliver toybots for kids to play with, but it looks like the Badbots are sneaking and scheming to sabotage the delivery in this moving, grooving picture book!

Trainbots boarding, how rewarding!
Trainbots zooming,
Badbots peeking, sneaking, scheming,
hopping, dropping—Badbots teeming!

These Trainbots are getting ready to make and deliver toybots for kids to play with! They’re drawing, sawing, and building to get the toybots ready to send, but it looks like the Badbots are sneaking and scheming to sabotage the delivery! Luckily, the Trainbots draft and craft and engineer and rockateer to outsmart the misbehaving Badbots. And once the toybots are delivered, the kids become their FRIEND-bots 'til-the-end bots!

Trainbots was written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Shane McG. The publisher is Little Bee Books. I received a Fold & Gathered review copy from the author, but the finished book will be available very soon!  The release date is June 7, 2016.


“Trainbots drawing, sawing, building. Hammer; clamor, lots of gilding.”

My thoughts as a writer:

If you write in rhyme or love reading picture books in rhyme, this is good one to study! I loved how Miranda Paul managed to work in scientific terminology without messing with the rhythm and rhyme: “Trainbots drafting, engineering…clever crafting, racketeering!”

The illustrations remind me of animated films – bright and dynamic, with fun expressions on the character faces.

My Thoughts as a Teacher:

The idea of putting robots, trains and superheroes together is perfect for helping to capture the interest of young students. I especially liked how blueprints and plans were included in the story, because I’m always encouraging students to draw plans while building in my kindergarten classroom.

Ages: 4 – 8

Grades: preschool - 3

Themes: individuality, perseverance, pirates, adventure


Build your own trainbot using materials such as cardboard boxes, wooden sticks, graph paper, buttons, googly eyes, etc. Paint and decorate!

Make up a character card for one of the trainbots: draw a picture, and list your character’s superpowers, special skills and name.

What is your favorite page in the story? Explain or write about why you picked this page.

Check out Writer's Rumpus for more about this book and an interview with author Miranda Paul.  


  1. So many layers of bots and a lickety split rhyme scheme. I know this will be a read-aloud winner.

  2. Can't wait to read Miranda's new book. This will certainly be a hit with children! The facing sounds fast and entertaining.

  3. Miranda Paul is a gifted writer. I love her clever and thoughtful word choices. I know I'm going to love this book!


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