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Book club review – Driving my tractor

Driving my Tractor is a wonderfully colourful and engaging song book by Jan Dobbins. Loved by children of all ages, its repetitive nature and simple maths concepts make it a firm favourite at Shining Stars Preschool. In fact the children and staff love it so much they made a video for you all!

The story has a simple narrative, the farmer is driving his tractor down a bumpy road, collecting animals as he goes, one cow, two donkeys, three pigs, four sheep and five chickens. Then the tractor hits a stone and the animals escape leaving the poor farmer making his way home alone, however he gets a lovely surprise when he gets bac

k to the farm!

Repetition is the dominant factor in the narrative; each verse has a familiar pattern to the words and the simple chorus of “chug chug, clank, clank, toot… it’s a very busy day” is great, enabling children to match music to movements as they sing along.

Maria Montessori, Early Childhood physician and developer of the Montessori Pedagogy of Early Childhood Learning,  stated “repetition is the secret of perfection” and we can see that repetitive play, song and rhyme has so many benefits for young children’s learning:

  • It builds strong connections in the brain
  • It supports children in mastering a concept
  • It allows children to practice and experiment within a familiar framework
  • It encourages reflection and discussion
  • It builds confidence and self esteem

Repetitive songs, rhymes and stories are naturally engaging for young children and can incorporate key learning concepts as we see in Driving my Tractor. Simple maths concepts are littered throughout the story such as counting and correspondence, sequencing, size and weight. Other learning concepts include colour names; the weather and seasons; animal sounds; crops; farm vehicles; birds and insects; and there’s also a spot the bunny game!

The colourful pictures of the farm through the seasons encourage discussion and Shining Stars were able to set up an interactive learning experience to enable their children to really dig deep into the story.  Nuzhat Lilani, Manager at Shining Stars explained “we prepared our core story setup in the tuff tray today and children loved exploring and re-enacting the story through role play and singing. They explored the different sounds the animals makes, talking about what they eat, and what they do on the farm, while different textures in the tray enabled them to feel and talk about what its like for the animals to live on the farm.”

“It’s a very interactive and irresistible book, children and staff love this book as it gives children lots of opportunity to learn in a fun way. This supports speech and language through song and the repeated refrains, also numeracy by counting out the correct number of animals as shown in the story.”

If the children at Shining Stars have inspired you to join in, you can check out the story on YouTube at

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7l9ts5rijs