The book may be about garbage, but it’s pure gold.

VROOM VROOM GARBAGE TRUCK

A 30-page tour de force of a board book that is even better than its title would suggest.

Given a toddler’s natural fascination for heavy equipment in general and for garbage trucks in particular, this volume could have offered far less and still been a hit. But, surprise, this cleverly written and lovingly rendered volume should prove an absolute delight for caregivers and tots alike. This onomatopoeic opus is ideal read-aloud fun, a slice-of-life snapshot of a garbage truck featuring all the signature sounds that alert tykes that the truck is nearby. It’s still dark when the titular truck wakes to the “plip plop” of raindrops and then starts with a click, headlights on, ready for a creaking, clanging day of rubbish collection. The illustrations are charming and economical, imbuing the protagonist with huge amounts of personality with surprisingly few (satisfyingly thick) lines. The text is hand-lettered into each illustration; the volume of each “rumble” and “vroom” is conveyed calligraphically, by the relative sizes of the letters. The day of sanitation engineering is replete with drama and triumph, whether braking for ducklings or backing up (“beep beep beep!!!”) to collect trash from a man who overslept (“AAAAAAAAAAAH!!!” is the one line of dialogue in the book). The smiling truck dumps its load from its aft end in a panel that could have come from a book on potty training and then heads home for the night.

The book may be about garbage, but it’s pure gold. (Board book. 1-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-943147-43-4

Page Count: 30

Publisher: The Innovation Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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