Purchase only if all your other truck books are always out on the road.

TRUCKS

From the Follow the Trail series

More traffic on the crowded board-book highway.

A digger and dump truck share a double-page spread, followed by “recovery truck” (a flatbed tow truck), fire engine, and recycling truck. An introductory spread attempts to explain all the features of the book: color-coded, textured trails, each with a string of tiny trucks to keep readers oriented, to follow with a finger, shapes to find and identify, and a peek-through hole that foreshadows what will be on the next page. (When the page is turned, the peek-through hole reveals an unrelated item from the previous spread, either a helicopter or a bird). The vocabulary is more complex than in most board books. Key words are printed in boldface, and directional words are highlighted along each track. A likely destination for each truck is pictured and described in a smaller font at the end of each finger trail. A typical truck sound is introduced for each vehicle, though only the “wooh! wooh!” of the fire engine is readily identified with its particular truck. The final page reviews the vehicles and repeats their trails and destinations. For older toddlers who are beginning to enjoy books independently, all this activity may keep them engaged. Younger tots will be overwhelmed and confused.

Purchase only if all your other truck books are always out on the road. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4654-5126-2

Page Count: 14

Publisher: DK Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A Christmas train book that gets derailed by a lacking story arc.

SANTA AND THE GOODNIGHT TRAIN

From the The Goodnight Train series

Not quite the Polar Express….

Sobel’s rhyming text fails to deliver a clear premise for the eponymous goodnight train’s Christmas Eve progress through the pages, and Huliska-Beith’s acrylic paintings embellished with fabric and paper collage don’t clarify the storytelling. At the start of the picture book, a bevy of anthropomorphic animals decorates a rather rickety-looking engine, and then human children gather around and pile into train cars that look like beds and cribs. The train follows a track, seemingly in pursuit of Santa’s sleigh, but to what end isn’t clear. They travel “through a town of gingerbread” and through the woods to find the sleigh blocking the tracks and the reindeer snoozing while, mystifyingly, Santa counts some sheep. Perching the sleigh on the train’s cowcatcher, they all proceed to the North Pole, where the “elves all cheer. / Santa’s here until next year!” But then the goodnight train just…leaves, “heading home on Christmas Eve.” Was this a dream? It definitely wasn’t a story with a satisfying beginning, middle, and end. Santa’s face is never seen; the human children and elves are diverse.

A Christmas train book that gets derailed by a lacking story arc. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-61840-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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Truck lovers of any gender will find this title a treat, but the hyperfeminine companion is sadly restrictive.

LOVE IS A TRUCK

Richly textured board pages and a limited color palette distinguish this tribute to trucks.

The gray buckram cover is a delight to hold, while bright red endpapers promise excitement within. Beautifully designed using shades of red, black, white, and brown on matte pages, the whole package has a retro, letterpress feel. The first truck is a firetruck big enough for a brown-skinned child to straddle. Later pages feature construction vehicles, a flatbed trailer, and an ice cream truck. The slight text has a lyrical quality, though the occasional rhymes seem accidental. Relatively abstract concepts are casually introduced, “Love is a kid who lines them all up. Biggest to smallest, color by color.” On the final page the brown-skinned child is kissed goodnight while clutching a truck under a road-patterned blanket. The main character wears plaid bib overalls and has longish curly hair. Another child, also brown-skinned, with close-cropped hair, plays with the construction trucks, shares a treat from the ice cream truck, and offers a goodnight kiss. Unfortunately, a less gender-neutral companion volume, Love Is a Tutu, clearly aims for the ballerina market with an excess of pink. Together the two books assure little girls they can love both tutus and trucks. Unfortunately, they send a mixed message to little boys.

Truck lovers of any gender will find this title a treat, but the hyperfeminine companion is sadly restrictive. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-937359-86-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cameron + Company

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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