Truck lovers will be so enthralled they will probably float right past the visual miscues, at least the first few times...

BUSY TRUCKS ON THE GO

A boy and his dad see lots of trucks about town.

The duo are mostly in their little red car (seat belts prominently shown, though the boy seems too young for the front seat) when they see all the vehicles that toddlers are famous for loving: excavator, dump truck, concrete mixer, bulldozer, freight trucks, tractor, tow truck, mail truck, school bus, fire truck, “paramedic truck,” garbage truck, recycle truck, city bus and street sweeper. Readers can almost follow a story, imagining the father and son on a road trip. But turn the page, and they are running past the letter carrier, seemingly so the little boy can catch the school bus; in the next spread, they are back in the car and a few later, biking (without helmets) down the street. Nonetheless, Ode’s rhyming couplets will have readers bouncing right along with them, no matter what they are doing: “Concrete mixer roars and rumbles. / See his drum? It turns and tumbles. / Soon he opens up his spout. / All the concrete rushes out.” Beyond the apparent lack of a visual narrative, Culotta’s bright illustrations misstep in at least one spread in which the boy seems noticeably older than in the others. Though the trim is small, the full-bleed pictures prominently feature the trucks and the time the father and son spend together.

Truck lovers will be so enthralled they will probably float right past the visual miscues, at least the first few times around. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61067-313-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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