John Deere tractors show their multipurpose usefulness in this continuation of a picture-book series for young children.
Picture books about heavy machinery, construction equipment, big trucks, and tractors are hardly in short supply, but considering the genre’s avid young fan base, there’s always room for one more. With engaging simplicity, nonfiction author Gebhart (2 Lives in 3 Acts, 2017, etc.) offers a crisply photographed tribute to the venerable John Deere tractor for children in the pre-K to early-elementary range. Following the formula of his previous celebrations of heavy machinery brands Caterpillar and Bobcat, Gebhart introduces the John Deere tractor as “him,” again personalizing a utilitarian vehicle for his young audience as he did with “Bob” the Bobcat and “CAT” the Caterpillar. Rather than a story narrative, however, children are treated to photographs of Deere models (one with treads, one with wheels) in action, equipped variously with drills, rollers, forklifts, a snowplow, excavators, and loaders. The photographs, mostly taken under blue skies and shot on farms, construction sites, and other outdoor areas, are centered on the top half of each page. The eye-pleasing design includes captions beneath the images with simple descriptions of the actions shown (“Deere lifts a concrete block,” “Deere plants a Christmas tree,” “Deere pours stones”). There is also a shot of the tractor’s control center interior (“What Deere looks like inside”). For the most part, tractor operators are glimpsed through the vehicles’ windows, although two captions refer to human “help.” One says, “Deere gets help on a farm,” but because the driver is only dimly seen, the caption’s meaning could be clearer. The second “help” photo shows a tractor operator and other workers front and center, and the context is plain to see—as is this book’s overall appeal for pint-sized enthusiasts.
A well-designed and likable addition to the hefty field of picture books for young fans of useful heavy machinery and trucks.