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TWO TOUGH TRUCKS

Looks like the first-day-of-school genre just got a high-octane upgrade.

They are both trucks, but diametrically opposing personalities make them a mechanized odd couple.

New-school jitters may render some trucks wobbly in the gears, but for others it’s an opportunity for fun. Outgoing Mack is a go-getter who loves to take risks while quiet Rig is eaten up with anxiety. When their bespectacled teacher, a semi named Miss Rhodes (what else?), pairs them up on a twisty track, the two have a hard time finding their groove. Mack is constantly leaving Rig in his dust, but when the time comes for some tricky backward driving, the speedster discovers that sometimes having a patient friend is worth more than getting ahead. Evoking a dry and dusty Western landscape rife with cactuses and roadrunners, Leung manipulates his digital art to make his vehicular characters as demonstrative as possible. The little Rig in particular has expressive eyebrows that knot into a perfect curlicue when worried and slope and dip with every disappointment. Refreshingly, the authors do not dodge the truth that sometimes you will finish last. But while tears may be shed, it is by no means the end of your race.

Looks like the first-day-of-school genre just got a high-octane upgrade. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-23654-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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RUBY FINDS A WORRY

From the Big Bright Feelings series

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their...

Ruby is an adventurous and happy child until the day she discovers a Worry.

Ruby barely sees the Worry—depicted as a blob of yellow with a frowny unibrow—at first, but as it hovers, the more she notices it and the larger it grows. The longer Ruby is affected by this Worry, the fewer colors appear on the page. Though she tries not to pay attention to the Worry, which no one else can see, ignoring it prevents her from enjoying the things that she once loved. Her constant anxiety about the Worry causes the bright yellow blob to crowd Ruby’s everyday life, which by this point is nearly all washes of gray and white. But at the playground, Ruby sees a boy sitting on a bench with a growing sky-blue Worry of his own. When she invites the boy to talk, his Worry begins to shrink—and when Ruby talks about her own Worry, it also grows smaller. By the book’s conclusion, Ruby learns to control her Worry by talking about what worries her, a priceless lesson for any child—or adult—conveyed in a beautifully child-friendly manner. Ruby presents black, with hair in cornrows and two big afro-puff pigtails, while the boy has pale skin and spiky black hair.

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their feelings (. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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THE HUGASAURUS

Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily.

A group of young “dinosauruses” go out into the world on their own.

A fuchsia little Hugasaurus and her Pappysaur (both of whom resemble Triceratops) have never been apart before, but Hugasaurus happily heads off with lunchbox in hand and “wonder in her heart” to make new friends. The story has a first-day-of-school feeling, but Hugasaurus doesn’t end up in a formal school environment; rather, she finds herself on a playground with other little prehistoric creatures, though no teacher or adult seems to be around. At first, the new friends laugh and play. But Hugasaurus’ pals begin to squabble, and play comes to a halt. As she wonders what to do, a fuzzy platypus playmate asks some wise questions (“What…would your Pappy say to do? / What makes YOU feel better?”), and Hugasaurus decides to give everyone a hug—though she remembers to ask permission first. Slowly, good humor is restored and play begins anew with promises to be slow to anger and, in general, to help create a kinder world. Short rhyming verses occasionally use near rhyme but also include fun pairs like ripples and double-triples. Featuring cozy illustrations of brightly colored creatures, the tale sends a strong message about appropriate and inappropriate ways to resolve conflict, the final pages restating the lesson plainly in a refrain that could become a classroom motto. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-82869-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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