The wild ride leaves the Tootings in 1966, carless and in midpredicament. Expect further episodes.

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CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG AND THE RACE AGAINST TIME

More of a romp through time than a race against it (though a race does figure in), this second authorized sequel sends the reconstructed car with a mind of its own careening from the Cretaceous to the Jazz Age, Venezuela to the Wild West, while folding in references and tributes to Ian Fleming’s classic tale.

The Tooting family—Mum, Dad, Jem, Lucy and Little Harry—is again largely along for the ride, landing in the Cretaceous almost immediately when the car breaks down. The madcap escape from a pack of T. Rex becomes complicated when archvillains Tiny Jack and Nanny phone from the Tooting house far in the future. The race to support them leads to encounters with Counts Basie and Zborowski (the latter a racing enthusiast and the car’s original owner), two 16th-century queens of fabled El Dorado (who sheathe Chitty in gold before switching to a fudge-based economy) and, ultimately, the Potts clan from the original story. Berger festoons margins and full pages with monochrome sketches that nicely capture the helter-skelter pacing of Cottrell Boyce’s round of chases, kidnappings, narrow squeaks and mildly daring references to guns, liquor and “[t]hose leaves that make your head feel funny when you chew them.”

The wild ride leaves the Tootings in 1966, carless and in midpredicament. Expect further episodes. (Fantasy. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5982

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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Other recent illustrated versions outsail this superficial recasting.

MOBY DICK

From the 10-Minute Classics series

Shadowy pictures of larger-than-life figures cast atmospheric gloom over this summary version of the classic.

Edwards leaves out most of the gory whaling bits—as well as Ahab’s talismanic doubloon and so many other details that what’s left is more a precis of the main plot points. It’s speckled with vague allusions (“Despite ominous warnings, Queequeg and I stayed committed to the Pequod”) and capped with a one-line climax: “Claiming more than just the harpoon boats, Moby Dick dashed the Pequod and claimed all her crew. All except one….” In Horsepool’s stylized paintings, semiabstract views reveal icy seas in which looming clouds, icebergs, and the whale look much alike. These alternate with scenes of monumental but misshapen human figures (Queequeg and Ahab both sport tiny pointed heads atop humongous bodies) that are often seen from behind and generally in dim lighting. Ishmael appears only at the end, looking more like he’s standing in knee-deep water than clinging to the coffin. The cast’s diverse origins draw a narrative mention, but aside from Queequeg and one crew member in a group scene, everyone in the art appears to be white.

Other recent illustrated versions outsail this superficial recasting. (Picture book. 10-12)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4867-1200-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flowerpot Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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A picture-book favorite despite minor flaws? That’s a 10-4, good buddy.

TEENY TINY TRUCKS

In McCanna and Frawley’s cheery picture-book debut, miniscule vehicles drive into supersized action.

Accompanied by a bouncy rhyme, several brightly colored trucks rumble through the garden: the lead red-and-blue truck, the more feminine purple truck and the gridlock-loathing aqua truck. Though the color palette and cartoon appearance of the nameless vehicles may seem like a carbon copy of Disney’s Cars (2006), illustrator Frawley has included humorous details for each truck, giving them life beyond their big-screen predecessors. For instance, the red-and-blue truck has jaunty eyebrows created from roof lights, the purple truck’s short bursts of steam look like daisies, and the aqua truck’s expressive eyebrows are actually wiper blades. The illustrations help tell a hilarious story, most notably of a traffic jam featuring a frog, slug and worm who are clearly not amused by the crowded garden path. McCanna similarly handles the text well. The rhythmic pattern is clear, most of the rhyme is spot-on—“Teeny tiny tires. With teeny tiny treads. / Leaving teeny tiny trails between the flower beds”—and the story begs to be read aloud to a group. Typical trucker talk is included in the dialogue—“Breaker breaker, Buddy!” “What’s your twenty, Friend?”—and the lingo is explained in a short glossary at the end of the story. Though the premise is amusing, the proportion of the trucks in relation to their surroundings can be a bit inconsistent. Most images depict the trucks, which are “smaller than a dime,” as being only marginally bigger than ants and bees, yet other images portray the trucks as being much larger—almost half as long as a box of animal crackers. Nevertheless, this delightful story will charm truck-loving children.

A picture-book favorite despite minor flaws? That’s a 10-4, good buddy.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0989668811

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Bahalia Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2013

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