Reading in Motion
- What: Wind Up Books by Usborne
- When: Two years and up
- Why: Entertaining, interactive reading fun
- Where: Amazon
One day, I will exhaust all the Usborne books we own. Until that happens, I’m going to keep raving about them. My kids absolutely love these books that come with wind up toys and tracks embedded in the pages.
We got our first Usborne wind up book as a gift before my eldest son turned two. He has loved it ever since. Each book includes three tracks for the small wind up toy to run on, as well as alternating pages of stories. The stories had too many words for my son at age two, but he outgrew that problem. My youngest, now three years old, loves to listen to them, too.
You wind up the toy and let it loose on the pages with tracks. It has a starting place, but since they all form loops, the exact starting location doesn’t really matter. To run on its own, the page spread needs to be completely flat. That can get tricky when the two sides of the book aren’t even, or when holding it in your lap. Even my older kids need some assistance to get the toys running.
But after many years, our toys still run. Our train has gotten a bit dicey on the wind up, though I suspect that depends more on my kids’ winding skills than the longevity of the toy. You can also tilt the book to get the toys to follow the tracks once they run of of steam, or when you can’t find a flat surface.
The toy stores inside a cutout in the book, though once you remove it from the original packaging, it won’t necessarily stay in that space unless the book lays flat. My kids like to yank the book off the shelf and carry it around, so the toy can go flying out.
The books cost a pretty penny, but they last for many years, both in appeal to a wide range of kids’ ages as well as durability of the book and wind up toy itself. We have definitely gotten plenty of value out of it. You can buy the same wind up concept in tractor, race car, bus, pirate ship, and ladybug versions.
A word of caution, too. These books are not small nor lightweight. I have never traveled with them, even for long car trips, because they take up so much space and weigh a lot. They also take up a lot of real estate on bookshelves. Other than that drawback, we love everything about them.