Brassy’s is a story reminiscent of Little Toot and The Little Engine that Could. Breathing fresh life into a classic scenario, Brassy is a new little fire engine with a big smile, a brass bell and a lot of moxie. He is well taken care of by the fire folk at his station and, in return, whenever there’s an emergency, Brassy is right there pumping water with all his might. Years pass, times change and, though Brassy holds a special place in Captains Bill’s heart, he is sent to a smaller station and replaced by a sleeker, bigger model. Unused, draped with cobwebs, Brassy misses his old life very much. One day, however, the city is in imminent danger and only Brassy can save it. Miller has a talent for painting faces and gives just enough detail to portray the town growing steadily into a city. Brassy’s wide eyes and expressions belie much of the mood of the story, which is based on Smith’s 1990 original. Brassy will gladden hearts with his enduring loyalty and pluck. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-316-76135-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2005

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


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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One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.


A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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Plucky animals rescue stuck truck. As the bright blue truck with headlights like eyes rattles down the country road, all the animals greet it. A big yellow dump truck comes zooming by; after passing Blue, Dump gets stuck in a patch of mud. Blue tries to help, but he gets stuck as well. Lickety split, the cow, the horse, the sheep, the chicken—all the farm animals—pitch in to free the two vehicles. They can’t quite budge the trucks until the big green toad (pictured knee-deep in mud in a muscleman pose) joins the team. Out pop the trucks. Dump learns a valuable lesson—“a lot depends on a helping hand from a few good friends”—and Blue gives the animals a lift back to the farm. Schertle’s rhythmic text—accented on the page by judiciously applied colored inks—fairly chants itself. McElmurry’s vibrant illustrations, in gouache on watercolor paper, recall Cooney and Burton in palette, line and design. This crisp rendition of a familiar scenario is sure to become a storytime favorite. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-15-205661-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2008

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