Lucky indeed are the kids who get to indulge in this splendid little wish-fulfillment daydream.

WITH ANY LUCK I'LL DRIVE A TRUCK

A delightful ode to trucks goes above and beyond the usual churning, wrecking, and pounding.

Cheery rhyming text declares from the first page, “At 2, when I could reach the seat, / I taught myself to make concrete.” And we’re off! Accompanied by a pig, turtle, and penguin, a small, hard-hatted white child recounts driving just about every truck, machine, and tractor imaginable. From backhoes to snowplows, the child and faithful animal crew are in every cab or assisting on the ground. All the favorites are here (bulldozer, dump truck, 18-wheeler, etc.), with some mechanical monsters lauded less often in books of this sort (hay baler, combine harvester, earthmover, etc.). By the end, the trucks are revealed to be mere toys, but a flash-forward to the future shows, “When I grow up…you know wassup. / With any luck, I’ll drive a truck.” Friend’s rhymes produce a one-of-a-kind mighty litany of machines. These words pair neatly with Rex’s art; his cartoonish style renders each vehicle with a meticulousness that will meet the approval of even the strictest vehicle enthusiast.

Lucky indeed are the kids who get to indulge in this splendid little wish-fulfillment daydream. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-16956-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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An A+ for Little E and his creator.

LITTLE EXCAVATOR

A petite excavator named Little E finds his place among a crew of full-sized, heavy-construction equipment working together to build a park.

The anthropomorphic Little E, with bright, friendly eyes and a cheery smile, invites readers into the story on the large-format cover. He is followed by a brown-and-white–spotted dog, which appears throughout the story as a friend to Little E. The construction vehicles arrive at an abandoned lot and begin working together to transform the property into a park. The rollicking, rhyming text names each type of rig and its function, including lots of sound effects and action verbs set in display type integrated into the illustrations: “Pusha-pusha smusha-smusha SMASH SMASH SMASH!” Little E tries to help with each step, but he is either too small or not strong enough for the task at hand. The last step of the park-construction project is the planting of a tree on an island reached by a bridge, but all the big rigs are too large to safely cross the wooden bridge. In a pitch-perfect conclusion, Little E is just the right size for the job. Dewdney, the late author/illustrator of the Llama Llama series, has constructed a solid winner for one of her final books, with an appealing main character, vibrant illustrations with varying perspectives, and an action-packed, rhyming text with sound effects just begging to be read aloud with dramatic effect.

An A+ for Little E and his creator. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-99920-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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Preschoolers enamored with construction equipment will enjoy this cheerful tale, which is simple enough for little ones just...

DALMATIAN IN A DIGGER

Four animals with heavy construction equipment arrive to build a treehouse as a surprise for a Dalmatian puppy.

The puppy awakens to loud, unexpected sounds and a foreshadowing glimpse of a big, metal scoop outside the bedroom window. The puppy joyously discovers an adult Dalmatian driving an excavator, called a “digger” in this British author/illustrator’s text. Just a couple of brief sentences describe the action of the digger, punctuated with creative sound effects incorporated into the illustrations in collage-effect letters. Another set of loud sounds precedes the arrival of a camel in a crane, followed by a duck in a dump truck, and a bear in a bulldozer. Each new piece of equipment has its own set of exuberant sounds that relate loosely to the machine’s function, such as “DUMP, SPLAT, CRASH” for the dump truck. The patterned text uses the machines’ sounds as a predictive device, with a dramatic page turn to reveal the next animal and corresponding construction equipment. Bold, movement-filled illustrations create a buoyant atmosphere, with jaunty animal characters and bright flowers and trees surrounding the construction site. There’s a bit of a logic gap between the heavy equipment and the concluding treehouse, as there are no carpenters shown building the actual house. Another small drawback is the gender bias in the four animal equipment drivers, as only one is identified as female; the puppy’s gender is not specified.

Preschoolers enamored with construction equipment will enjoy this cheerful tale, which is simple enough for little ones just transitioning into real stories. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62370-802-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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