Old Tracks, New Tricks by Jessica Petersen

Just about every child I know has had a set of wooden train tracks at some time or another.

These can be loads of fun to play with initially, but as you'll see in this new book, the play possibilities can be endless for years to come!

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I received a free copy of this product from Innovation Press in exchange for writing a review.  All opinions are my own.

We don't have a set of wooden train tracks at our house, but Gv's friends do and she loves playing with them every week when we visit.

So when this colorful book showed up for review, we knew we'd have to share the fun with her buddies (as well as have the opportunity to explore the book's ideas with their tracks!)

Despite not having any tracks of her own (although our review copy came with one track piece, as well as a few fun eyeball tattoos), the book captured Gv's attention immediately, so we read it plenty of times before bringing it to share with our friends.

She loves her lone track!

As soon as you open the cover, you'll see that this title is just about as far out of the box as you can get from most books - and I love it!

Make your own glow-in-the-dark Space Mountain!

It's filled with real-life photos of actual train sets, kids and all sorts of creative ideas of how to play with these old tracks in new ways.

Besides the fabulous photography that adds so much to our enjoyment of this book, a fun little story chugs across the pages, composed mostly of speech bubbles in comic book style.

(And did I mention it rhymes? You know how I love a book whose text rhymes!)

Three creative little tracks (after quite a display of acrobatics in the toy store!) join an old wooden train set full of grouchy, bossy trains and bored, sleepy tracks who want no part of the fresh ideas these new tracks bring.

Of course, by the end of the story, these innovative little guys have completely changed the minds of that old set and everyone realizes that even old tracks can learn new tricks!

Several pages follow the story ending and provide inspiration for unique track-trick inventions.

The book's cleverness doesn't end with the story, however, as you turn the pages and discover a section on how to invent your own track tricks (I love how this promotes brainstorming!) followed by in-depth instructions on how to reproduce the fantastic track-tivities from the story and more.

So many creative ideas for ways to use these tracks!

I'd thought about coming up with my own unique track-tastic idea to go along with this book, but quickly decided that what I most wanted to see was how the ideas in this book could ignite the imaginations of a group of children in their play.

The book definitely caught the attention of the group - again, I think its brightly colored photographs are such an asset to this book's success.

I read the story to our friends and then the host mom brought out their collection of trains and tracks and just about anything else that could be used to build with.

The domino idea was the first one they attempted...

Initially, the kids re-created some of the ideas from the book, but it wasn't long before those ideas inspired others and that's when things got really fun.

Tracks at attention - domino-style!

Wood-slice building blocks were a great addition to this set-up.

Contemplating how to integrate these interesting water blocks...

How far can we stretch these tracks?

Using Duplos to build a bridge...

And off it goes!

This book is an absolute must-have for all the little engineers out there - seriously, if there's a house with a train set, then a copy of this book needs to live there, too.

This book is available in both paperback and hardcover editions, but the hardback version ensures this book will last!

My guess is that train sets begin to enter a child's home around his or her second birthday. This book would be perfect then, but I think it becomes even more valuable through the years - especially when a child's interest in that old train set begins to wane.

What I liked most about the ideas in this book was that not only did it provide so many variations for using the tracks as intended bases for the trains, but many craft suggestions as well.

Paint the tracks, paint the trains, use the trains and tracks to paint the paper!

Because of these aspects, I feel this book could be appreciated by kids all the way through the elementary years!

You can grab your own copy of the book here and begin to see the creative influence it will have on your own little engineers.

Would you have ever thought to try some of these ideas with the tracks at your house?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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