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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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the...

HALLOWEEN ABC

An abecedary of spooky or autumnal delights for the littlest readers.

Each letter of the alphabet is highlighted on a single page, the upper- and lowercase letters appearing in the upper left-hand corner, while the object is named at the bottom or in the upper right. Ho keeps her illustrations simple and places them against plain, brightly colored backgrounds, keeping them accessible to those still learning about Halloween’s many icons. The almost-fluorescent orange cover is sure to attract attention, and the palette of black, purple, orange, yellow, and radioactive green enhances the Halloween mood. But while many of the chosen items will be expected—bats, ghost, haunted house, owl, skeleton, vampire, witch, zombie—others are rather odd choices. J is for “jump,” not jack-o’-lantern (“pumpkin” is illustrated with a jack-o’-lantern); K is for a mostly black “kitten” standing in a coffin; and N is for “nightmare,” which is virtually impossible to express visually for this age group without provoking said nightmare. Here, a lavender-skinned child (zombie?) in pajamas and nightcap has arms raised and mouth open wide in surprise—perhaps in response to the mummy across the gutter? The tough letters use “quiver,” spider-decorated “underpants” on a monster, and “extra treats,” the x underlined.

While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the youngest listeners that Halloween can be scary. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9527-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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