Three dynamic duos: Gus and Walt; Sue and Mo; Verdick and Rosenthal.

SMALL WALT AND MO THE TOW

Walt—a small but powerful, friendly-faced snowplow—continues to work with his driver, Gus. How can they help a green car that has gone off the road?

Fans of Small Walt (2017) will not be disappointed. Along with a new, simple-but-satisfying plot, a few new characters, and new, whimsical motor noises, the text includes the winning refrain readers will recall from their earlier encounter with the team: “We’re Gus and Walt. / We plow and we salt. / We clear the snow / so the cars can go!” This time, the pair is clearing a road “slick with ice” when they see a green car slide into a ditch. Walt is eager to scoop up the car, but Gus warns him to wait, as plows are for snow only. As Gus lends a hand to the green car’s driver, Walt hears the “brumm-brumm-humma-hum” of Mo the Tow. Sue—a “lady in blue”—steers Mo toward the green car to tow it. Snow has been falling steadily, and the green car’s owner sits in Gus’ cab to stay warm. Before the story ends, Walt and Gus must rumble into action to help Mo and Sue drive close enough to rescue the car. Special kudos for the gender-stereotype–defying scenes of Sue confidently hitching and driving Mo. Delightful, retro artwork and clever text offer another tribute to teamwork and friendship. Gus is depicted with pale skin and Sue and the green car’s driver with brown.

Three dynamic duos: Gus and Walt; Sue and Mo; Verdick and Rosenthal. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6660-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book.

SCOOPER AND DUMPER

Friends don’t let friends expire in snowdrifts.

Convoluted storytelling and confusing art turn a cute premise into a mishmash of a book. Scooper’s a front loader that works in the town salt yard, replenishing the snowplows that arrive. Dumper’s her best friend, more than happy to plow and salt the roads himself. When the big city calls in Dumper to help with a snow squall, he brushes off Scooper’s concerns. Yet slippery roads and a seven-vehicle pileup launch poor Dumper onto his side in a snowbank. Can Scooper overcome fears that she’s too slow and save the day? Following a plot as succinct as this should be a breeze, but the rhyming text obfuscates more than it clarifies. Lines such as, “Dumper’s here— / let’s rock ’n’ roll! / Big city’s callin’ for / some small-town soul” can prove impenetrable. The art of the book matches this confusion, with light-blue Dumper often hard to pick out among other, similarly colored vehicles, particularly in the snowstorm. Speech bubbles, as when the city calls for Scooper’s and Dumper’s help, lead to a great deal of visual confusion. Scooper is also featured sporting long eyelashes and a bow, lest anyone mistake the dithering, frightened truck as anything but female. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 16.8% of actual size.)

Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9268-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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