A superhero truck? Just what the world needs!
Many young kids love superheroes and trucks and getting dirty, so what could be better than a picture book that glorifies all three? Clarence, a rather ordinary-looking dirty pickup truck, and Bruno, a nattier-looking cement mixer, are best friends, but readers soon learn that with a quick wash job, Clarence turns into the bright red Mighty Truck. Mighty Truck is supposed to keep his identity secret, but when faced with a perilous emergency at Muddymania, held in Axleburg Arena, he has to make a quick decision. Can he use his superpowers (without revealing his secret identity) to prevent exhausted Flo, the watering truck who has created all the mud for the special event, from crashing haphazardly into the all-truck crowd? Like a four-wheeled Jimmy Olsen, Bruno forges ahead, and Clarence, aka Mighty Truck, must follow. The rescue is accomplished, but Bruno learns the secret. The bromance is sealed, but is there a whiff of old-fashioned anti-feminism in the air? Why is it Flo, the female truck, who must be rescued? Most kids won’t care, and the Adobe Photoshop digital illustrations are full of all kinds of moving vehicles with faces, resembling childhood favorites like Little Toot and Thomas the Tank Engine.
Despite its emphasis on friendship, this muddied story with its awkward puns doesn’t become greater than the sum of its parts. (Picture book. 4-6)