Dead certain to instill a newfound and deep-seated crane obsession in its young readers.

THE LITTLE RED CRANE

Cranes of every shape and size enjoy the limelight.

Dex is just a small mini, or spider, crane, best suited to interior work. Still, when a letter comes inviting his operator, Pete, to help with an “incredibly BIG project,” the two hop to it. To get there, they must journey over land and across the sea, passing myriad different cranes on the way. Passing a relatively human-scale loader crane and telescopic crane, the truck carrying Dex reaches the waterfront and is loaded onto a ship, allowing him to encounter jaw-droppingly massive shipbuilding, ship-to-shore, offshore, floating, and tower cranes. In the face of the sheer gargantuan size of their mechanics, Dex is baffled as to why he was selected for any kind of important job. Happily, his merit is made clear when he unloads and lifts the different parts of a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton within a museum. While each crane Dex comes into contact with exhibits anthropomorphic features (eyes, faces, etc.), this does not detract from the awe they will inspire in construction-obsessed young readers. Deft watercolors bring the sheer scale of this storyline to life, with sweet-faced Dex the friendliest little red spider crane you ever did see. Alas, but one crane is gendered female, offsetting only slightly the otherwise male-heavy cast.

Dead certain to instill a newfound and deep-seated crane obsession in its young readers. (further information) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-59572-843-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Starbright Books

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their...

DIGGERSAURS

Less ambitious than Chris Gall’s widely known Dinotrux (2009) and sequels, this British import systematically relegates each dinosaur/construction-equipment hybrid to its most logical job.

The title figures are introduced as bigger than both diggers and dinosaurs, and rhyming text and two construction-helmeted kids show just what these creatures are capable of. Each diggersaur has a specific job to do and a distinct sound effect. The dozersaurus moves rocks with a “SCRAAAAPE!!!” while the rollersaurus flattens lumps with a cheery “TOOT TOOT!!” Each diggersaur is numbered, with 12 in all, allowing this to be a counting book on the sly. As the diggersaurs (not all of which dig) perform jobs that regular construction equipment can do, albeit on a larger scale, there is no particular reason why any of them should have dinosaurlike looks other than just ’cause. Peppy computer art tries valiantly to attract attention away from the singularly unoriginal text. “Diggersaurs dig with bites so BIG, / each SCOOP creates a crater. // They’re TOUGH and STRONG / with necks so long— / they’re super EXCAVATORS!” Far more interesting are the two human characters, a white girl and a black boy, that flit about the pictures offering commentary and action. Much of the fun of the book can be found in trying to spot them on every two-page spread.

Count on construction die-hards falling in love, but discerning readers would be wise to look elsewhere for their dino/construction kicks. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-9848-4779-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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