This colorful addition to the board-book shelf gives toddlers just learning to talk much to talk about.

CARS AND TRUCKS

This simple board book and its three companions focus on picture recognition and learning everyday words.

An equal number of boys and girls take the wheel in this illustrated list of vehicles. Some of the children are even brown-skinned with curly dark hair. Curry's characters sport the same round heads and noses as Charles Schulz's Peanuts gang, and the girl driving the school bus even looks an awful lot like Peppermint Patty. Curry's palette is slightly off from primary colors, with pink undertones and surprising tints. Still, iconic elements keep them recognizable. Neither the taxi nor the school bus is yellow, for instance, but their shapes are typical. Trains, Boats, and Planes expands on the transportation theme with more unusual choices, a couple a bit problematic. Steam trains are in widespread use, even in England, where Curry lives, and most Americans would say “light rail” instead of “express train.” It is also redundant to refer to “An underwater submarine.” Zoo Animals and Farm Animals follow similar formats, with one animal described by one adjective per page. In the latter, the sheep and pig are paired with their babies, and the book ends with a white farmer driving a tractor towing a trailer.

This colorful addition to the board-book shelf gives toddlers just learning to talk much to talk about. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0199-6

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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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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