Great fun to look at; kids will feel the speed of the bike and the there-ness of place. (Picture book. 4-8)

READ REVIEW

ALONG A LONG ROAD

What was one continuous 35-foot long work of art turns into a nifty visual exercise and an engaging image for young folk.

There are only four colors—black, white, blue and rust—except for that long, long road, which is a shiny ocher. The text is equally minimalist, with only a handful of words per page. The cycling hero curls over his racing bike, now like a crochet hook, now like the capital letter L, now like the letter U, sideways. He races around the town, through a tunnel, over a bridge, hitting a bump, stopping, riding again. That shiny road widens and narrows but never ceases, and readers will gaze wide-eyed at what is along the way: a boy getting ice cream from a truck; a pregnant woman, with boy and dog in tow, buying groceries and waving; the circus tent outside of town and the lighthouse at water’s edge. Viva, an international cyclist and designer of New Yorker covers, among many other things, has a pleasing graphic style that indicates shape and movement with geometric form and line.

Great fun to look at; kids will feel the speed of the bike and the there-ness of place. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-316-12925-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off.

TINY LITTLE ROCKET

This rocket hopes to take its readers on a birthday blast—but there may or may not be enough fuel.

Once a year, a one-seat rocket shoots out from Earth. Why? To reveal a special congratulatory banner for a once-a-year event. The second-person narration puts readers in the pilot’s seat and, through a (mostly) ballad-stanza rhyme scheme (abcb), sends them on a journey toward the sun, past meteors, and into the Kuiper belt. The final pages include additional information on how birthdays are measured against the Earth’s rotations around the sun. Collingridge aims for the stars with this title, and he mostly succeeds. The rhyme scheme flows smoothly, which will make listeners happy, but the illustrations (possibly a combination of paint with digital enhancements) may leave the viewers feeling a little cold. The pilot is seen only with a 1960s-style fishbowl helmet that completely obscures the face, gender, and race by reflecting the interior of the rocket ship. This may allow readers/listeners to picture themselves in the role, but it also may divest them of any emotional connection to the story. The last pages—the backside of a triple-gatefold spread—label the planets and include Pluto. While Pluto is correctly labeled as a dwarf planet, it’s an unusual choice to include it but not the other dwarfs: Ceres, Eris, etc. The illustration also neglects to include the asteroid belt or any of the solar system’s moons.

A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-18949-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: David Fickling/Phoenix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Visual fun overrides textual inadequacies, making this an enjoyable read with an inarguably valuable message.

ELBOW GREASE

If it first you don’t succeed, try getting hit by lightning.

The smallest of his four brothers, Elbow Grease is an electric-powered monster truck with big dreams. Each one of his brothers is tougher, faster, smarter, or braver than he is, but at least he’s got enough “gumption” to spare. That comes in handy when he rushes off to join a Grand Prix in a fit of pique. And while in the end he doesn’t win, he does at least finish thanks to a conveniently placed lightning bolt. That inspires the true winner of the race (Elbow Grease’s hero, Big Wheels McGee) to declare that it’s gumption that’s the true mark of a winner. With his emphasis on trying new things, even if you fail, Cena, a professional wrestler and celebrity, earnestly offers a legitimately inspiring message even if his writing borders on the pedestrian. Fortunately McWilliam’s illustrations give a great deal of life, emotion, action, and mud splatters to the middling text. Humans are few and far between, but the trucks’ keeper, Mel the mechanic, is pictured as a brown-skinned woman with glasses.

Visual fun overrides textual inadequacies, making this an enjoyable read with an inarguably valuable message. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7350-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more