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CRANE JANE!

From the Big Jobs, Bold Women series , Vol. 2

When it comes to doing heavy lifting, you can count on this tale.

Let’s hear it for Crane Jane!

While listening to this book, the second in the Big Jobs, Bold Women series, following Firefighter Flo! (2022), readers will hear cacophonous noises in Jane’s wake given all the rhythmic, onomatopoeic sounds accompanying her efforts as a crane operator at the dock. Jaunty, terse rhymed couplets describe Jane’s hectic, exciting workday as she expertly maneuvers her crane to lift, move, and set down heavy cargo—freight containers and trucks—on and off ships. What a joyful din (“TROMP! TROMP!” "CLANG-CLANG!” “WHOOSH! WHOOSH!”) her job produces. The sound words generally appear in pairs or trios and are usually set in yellow boldfaced capitals so they stand out, and construction-site and vehicle mavens will be eager to simulate them. Children will be especially intrigued by a scene in which a firetruck, lifted from a ship and caught in a heavy wind, dangles precariously from the crane and is improbably saved by a flock of helpful gulls. The digital illustrations feature bold, eye-popping colors and lots of detailed activity. It’s great that kids see a woman, especially a woman of color, carry out her job so skillfully and effortlessly in a predominantly male-dominated profession. Jane has light brown skin and dark braids beneath her pale-green hard hat. Her co-workers and crew are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

When it comes to doing heavy lifting, you can count on this tale. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9780823451586

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2023

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DIGGERSAURS

Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their...

Less ambitious than Chris Gall’s widely known Dinotrux (2009) and sequels, this British import systematically relegates each dinosaur/construction-equipment hybrid to its most logical job.

The title figures are introduced as bigger than both diggers and dinosaurs, and rhyming text and two construction-helmeted kids show just what these creatures are capable of. Each diggersaur has a specific job to do and a distinct sound effect. The dozersaurus moves rocks with a “SCRAAAAPE!!!” while the rollersaurus flattens lumps with a cheery “TOOT TOOT!!” Each diggersaur is numbered, with 12 in all, allowing this to be a counting book on the sly. As the diggersaurs (not all of which dig) perform jobs that regular construction equipment can do, albeit on a larger scale, there is no particular reason why any of them should have dinosaurlike looks other than just ’cause. Peppy computer art tries valiantly to attract attention away from the singularly unoriginal text. “Diggersaurs dig with bites so BIG, / each SCOOP creates a crater. // They’re TOUGH and STRONG / with necks so long— / they’re super EXCAVATORS!” Far more interesting are the two human characters, a white girl and a black boy, that flit about the pictures offering commentary and action. Much of the fun of the book can be found in trying to spot them on every two-page spread.

Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their dino/construction kicks. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-4779-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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