Skip to main content

BANG, by Leo Timmers

I'm really not a fan of automobiles, but for some reason, most likely an early introduction to Richard Scarry's classic Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, I am drawn picture books that feature vehicles, especially when the illustrations get a little silly the way Richard Scarry's always did. I was thrilled to discover William Bee and his book and the cars go . . .  last year, adding it to my short list of favorites that also includes the fantastic lift-the-flap book Under the Hood by Christophe Merlin. Add to this list the almost wordless picture book Bang! by Belgian author Leo Timmers. All images are from Leo Timmers's website, thus the "Boem," which I think is Dutch, instead of the "Bang."

Like Bee's book, the premise of Bang! is simple and completely engaging, especially when you combine it with Timmers's detailed, brightly colored, humorous illustrations. Rather than a traffic jam caused by a mysterious something that we have to turn the pages to get to, Timmers's begins with bang, literally. First up is a deer driving a car filled with books, all titled, "Bang!", Reading and driving lead to a crash with a garbage can. Happily, all the books land in a tidy stack inside the garbage can, but a chain reaction ensues.

Timmers's use of color in Bang! is a visual treat. The animals are all colorfully matched with their cars or trucks and, in many cases, their cargo. As each consecutive car is rear-ended, the cargo goes flying and the following page, as seen above, is a "Bang" with a color background that matches the driver and car. After each bang-up, cargo goes flying, adding to the chaos and slap-stick humor. As in Bee's and the cars go . . ., keep your eye on the avian creatures over the course of the story, this time chickens rather than seagulls. 

Fish, veggies, little bunnies, paint and more all go flying in fantastic ways, leading up to a magnificent four-page fold-out spread where the final vehicle in the pile-up, an ice cream truck, makes for a sweet and mostly happy ending. Timmers's cartoonish illustration style pairs wonderfully with his painterly skills and brilliant attention to detail. Bang! is a book that, like Cars and Trucks and Things That Goand the cars go . . ., and Under the Hood, readers - young and old - will pore over, again and again. I can't wait to read more of Timmers's books!

Source: Read in a bookstore, wish I had bought it...

While a handful of Leo Timmers's books have not been published in English, you can buy many of them online from Powell's Books!

 And, in board book format be sure not to miss these titles:

Other cars & trucks picture books worth buying:

and the cars go . . .                                                   Under the Hood 


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…