This sequel may not be wholly necessary, but little truck lovers will appreciate the light at the end of the tunnel.

TWO TOUGH TRUCKS GET LOST!

Nothing’s spookier than getting lost without your best friend by your side.

Once so different, the buddies of Two Tough Trucks (2019) are now as alike as peas in a pod. Mack and Rig spend their days, “racing and chasing and zipping ’round bends.” Warned by their folks to be back before dark, the two tear off into the saguaro-studded landscape, failing to notice with their headlight-eyes shut that when the road forks they take different paths. Upon discovering that they are not only lost, but separated, the two look high and low as the sun sets in the west. It’s Rig who thinks to light a flare and Mac who gets to the high ground, where he spots it. Reunited, they retrace their tracks, back to parents and home. This rhyming sequel, while peppy, downplays the trucks’ previously established personalities, rendering them nearly identical. It is nice to see them manage their mutual rescue, though the ending lands a bit flat. Blocky, cartoon art keeps things artful and peppy, rendering every little emotion a lost truck might feel in quick succession. Quick-eyed spotters will note the roadrunner and tortoise that secretly accompany our two heroes as they search for one another (even on the endpapers). (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.9-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 18.5% of actual size.)

This sequel may not be wholly necessary, but little truck lovers will appreciate the light at the end of the tunnel. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-23655-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the...

ROBOT, GO BOT!

In this deceptively spare, very beginning reader, a girl assembles a robot and then treats it like a slave until it goes on strike.

Having put the robot together from a jumble of loose parts, the budding engineer issues an increasingly peremptory series of rhymed orders— “Throw, Bot. / Row, Bot”—that turn from playful activities like chasing bubbles in the yard to tasks like hoeing the garden, mowing the lawn and towing her around in a wagon. Jung crafts a robot with riveted edges, big googly eyes and a smile that turns down in stages to a scowl as the work is piled on. At last, the exhausted robot plops itself down, then in response to its tormentor’s angry “Don’t say no, Bot!” stomps off in a huff. In one to four spacious, sequential panels per spread, Jung develops both the plotline and the emotional conflict using smoothly modeled cartoon figures against monochromatic or minimally detailed backgrounds. The child’s commands, confined in small dialogue balloons, are rhymed until her repentant “Come on home, Bot” breaks the pattern but leads to a more equitable division of labor at the end.

A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the rest. (Easy reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-87083-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age.

THE THANKFUL BOOK

Parr focuses his simplistic childlike art and declarative sentences on gratitude for the pleasures and wonders of a child’s everyday life.

Using images of both kids and animals, each colorful scene in bold primary colors declaims a reason to be thankful. “I am thankful for my hair because it makes me unique” shows a yellow-faced child with a wild purple coiffure, indicating self-esteem. An elephant with large pink ears happily exclaims, “I am thankful for my ears because they let me hear words like ‘I love you.’ ” Humor is interjected with, “I am thankful for underwear because I like to wear it on my head.” (Parents will hope that it is clean, but potty-humor–loving children probably won’t care.) Children are encouraged to be thankful for feet, music, school, vacations and the library, “because it is filled with endless adventures,” among other things. The book’s cheery, upbeat message is clearly meant to inspire optimistic gratitude; Parr exhorts children to “remember some [things to be thankful for] every day.”

Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-18101-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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