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From the Wheels At Work series

For preschool motor-vehicle fanciers everywhere.

Everything’s under control in this primer on emergency vehicles.

This brief but engaging board book, published with three other entries in Cocoretto’s Wheels at Work series, acquaints toddlers with the names and uses of some of the biggest, loudest, and most brightly lit vehicles on the road. Each turn of the page opens to a spread-filling depiction of an emergency vehicle. Phrases such as “Let’s hurry to…” enlist the participation of young readers to fold open the right-hand page in order to reveal the rest of the sentence (“…the hospital!”) and an illustration of the truck in action. Here, the vehicle is an ambulance; the flap opens to reveal an EMT wheeling a patient from the back of the vehicle. A “police truck,” a “fire truck,” a “tow truck,” and a “four-wheel drive” follow. The drawings are appropriately simple and unadorned, favoring ease of recognition over artistry and design. Scenes include characters of both genders and many ethnicities and skin hues in key roles: black male and white female police officers, Asian male and white female firefighters, a white male ambulance driver, an Asian female EMT with a brown-skinned patient, a black woman tow-truck driver, and others. The ambulance features both a red cross and the red crescent seen in many Muslim countries. City, Construction, and Farm publish simultaneously.

For preschool motor-vehicle fanciers everywhere. (Board book. 1-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-7862-8080-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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From the Beginner Books series

Smoother rides are out there.

Mommy and Bonnie—two anthropomorphic rodents—go for a joyride and notice a variety of conveyances around their busy town.

The pair encounter 22 types of vocational vehicles as they pass various sites, including a fire engine leaving a firehouse, a school bus approaching a school, and a tractor trailer delivering goods to a supermarket. Narrated in rhyming quatrains, the book describes the jobs that each wheeled machine does. The text uses simple vocabulary and sentences, with sight words aplenty. Some of the rhymes don't scan as well as others, and the description of the mail truck’s role ("A mail truck brings / letters and cards / to mailboxes / in people's yards) ignores millions of readers living in yardless dwellings. The colorful digitally illustrated spreads are crowded with animal characters of every type hustling and bustling about. Although the art is busy, observant viewers may find humor in details such as a fragile item falling out of a moving truck, a line of ducks holding up traffic, and a squirrel’s spilled ice cream. For younger children enthralled by vehicles, Sally Sutton’s Roadwork (2011) and Elizabeth Verdick’s Small Walt series provide superior text and art and kinder humor. Children who have little interest in cars, trucks, and construction equipment may find this offering a yawner. Despite being advertised as a beginner book, neither text nor art recommend this as an engaging choice for children starting to read independently. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Smoother rides are out there. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-37725-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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The lack of real excitement will make these helpers fade from memory like sirens on a distant road.

Part emergency adventure, part reassurance that help is on the way—youngsters fascinated by vehicles with sirens will be attracted to this board book.

Straightforward, declarative text and fanciful, somewhat futuristic pictures describe “a big beautiful world, filled with awesome adventures.” The second spread previews the helpers and their vehicles with profile views of six types of vehicles against a clean white background. The final spread shows front views of the same six rescue vehicles. In between, spreads focus on three different emergencies. In a busy spread headlined “Uh-oh, an accident,” readers see a police car, an ambulance, and a tow truck, while a police helicopter hovers overhead. “Uh-oh, a storm!” shows the water-based versions of emergency vehicles against a rain-gray background. “Uh-oh, a fire!” focuses on firefighters, with police and EMTs playing supporting roles. All the vehicles are staffed by smiling animal characters reminiscent of Richard Scarry’s Busytown creatures but without the whimsy of those classics. The final text proclaims that “helpers…are the ones who save the world.” The wordy text and detailed pictures make this board book most suited for older toddlers intrigued by emergency vehicles, but the placid delivery is out of sync with the notion that the depicted world is in peril.

The lack of real excitement will make these helpers fade from memory like sirens on a distant road. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0599-8

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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