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

READ REVIEW

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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A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE LAST CHOCOLATE

From the Love Monster series

The surprised recipient of a box of chocolates agonizes over whether to eat the whole box himself or share with his friends.

Love Monster is a chocoholic, so when he discovers the box on his doorstep, his mouth waters just thinking about what might be inside; his favorite’s a double chocolate strawberry swirl. The brief thought that he should share these treats with his friends is easily rationalized away. Maybe there won’t be enough for everyone, perhaps someone will eat his favorite, or, even worse, leave him with his least favorite: the coffee one! Bright’s pacing and tone are on target throughout, her words conveying to readers exactly what the monster is thinking and feeling: “So he went into his house. And so did the box of chocolates…without a whisper of a word to anyone.” This is followed by a “queasy-squeezy” feeling akin to guilt and then by a full-tilt run to his friends, chocolates in hand, and a breathless, stream-of-consciousness confession, only to be brought up short by what’s actually in the box. And the moral is just right: “You see, sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others…that you start to find out just how much they think of you.” Monster’s wide eyes and toothy mouth convey his emotions wonderfully, and the simple backgrounds keep the focus on his struggle.

A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-00-754030-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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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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