The absence of a well-told storyline makes the book feel static, but kids who love cars will enjoy this crazy compendium and...

READ REVIEW

ALL KINDS OF CARS

Can there be room for yet another picture book about cars? Apparently.

This Swedish import (by way of England) provides an original take on this overstuffed genre. The format could not be simpler. There is no connecting narrative, and text is limited to one- or two-word labels for a heady mix of fantasy and traditional vehicles of every conceivable type and purpose, most apparently arbitrarily arrayed on the pages. Bright flat colors and whimsical shapes dominate. The cars depicted feel like a stream of consciousness. Some are funny or silly: “marmalade car,” “sausage car,” “rocket car,” “chewing-gum car,” and, inevitably, “poo car.” A few are a bit obscure for most young children, such as “Mondrian car” or “Jules Verne car.” Some spreads are thematic, Richard Scarry–style, showing real vehicles associated with specific environments, including mining, hospital, agriculture, road-building, and an airport. The book includes an index to all the cars depicted and endpapers showing many of the vehicles in a cityscape. The book is apparently oblivious to the environmental implications of fossil-fueled transport—unless including the “greenhouse car,” the “chimney car,” and the “wood stove car” on the same spread as the “stressed car” is making a subtle point?

The absence of a well-told storyline makes the book feel static, but kids who love cars will enjoy this crazy compendium and will be engaged by the imaginative take on a traditional subject . (Informational picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-911171-01-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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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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A Christmas train book that gets derailed by a lacking story arc.

SANTA AND THE GOODNIGHT TRAIN

From the The Goodnight Train series

Not quite the Polar Express….

Sobel’s rhyming text fails to deliver a clear premise for the eponymous goodnight train’s Christmas Eve progress through the pages, and Huliska-Beith’s acrylic paintings embellished with fabric and paper collage don’t clarify the storytelling. At the start of the picture book, a bevy of anthropomorphic animals decorates a rather rickety-looking engine, and then human children gather around and pile into train cars that look like beds and cribs. The train follows a track, seemingly in pursuit of Santa’s sleigh, but to what end isn’t clear. They travel “through a town of gingerbread” and through the woods to find the sleigh blocking the tracks and the reindeer snoozing while, mystifyingly, Santa counts some sheep. Perching the sleigh on the train’s cowcatcher, they all proceed to the North Pole, where the “elves all cheer. / Santa’s here until next year!” But then the goodnight train just…leaves, “heading home on Christmas Eve.” Was this a dream? It definitely wasn’t a story with a satisfying beginning, middle, and end. Santa’s face is never seen; the human children and elves are diverse.

A Christmas train book that gets derailed by a lacking story arc. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-61840-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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