THE SCRUBBLY-BUBBLY CAR WASH

O’Garden takes readers for a rhythmic ride through the car wash in this playful outing. “What do we get for driving far?” she begins. “A crusty, dusty, dirty car.” Jabar’s (The Sundae Scoop, p. 1700, etc.) opening spread depicts a harried father behind the wheel of an outlandishly long, red automobile. Overhead, sea gulls fly low; two children sit in the back seat, one holds an ice cream sundae out the window. “How are we going to get it clean? / The bathtub? / Or the washing machine?” Without missing a beat, the family heads to the titular car wash for an onomatopoeic scrub-down. Alive with springtime tones and textured brush strokes, Jabar’s vibrant illustration depicts a car wash shaped like a giant, sunglass-wearing face; patrons enter through its open mouth. Inside, a hipster employee with two earrings and a goatee flashes a peace sign. The wash begins (“We hear a funny whumping sound / as floods of suds come foaming down / at the lathery-blathery, / scrubbly-bubbly CAR WASH”), bathing readers in sensational sounds. “Steamy sprays beyond the brushes / rinse us down in luscious rushes / at the drippity-droppity, bottom to toppity, / lathery-blathery, scrubbly-bubbly CAR WASH!” O’Garden offers a spot-on soundscape. While not as imaginative as Car Wash (2001), by Sandra and Susan Steen and Brian Karas, this will definitely appeal to the same audience. Whether they’ve been through an automated car wash or not, children will happily go along for the ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-694-00871-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2002

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Sadly, the storytelling runs aground.

LITTLE RED SLEIGH

A little red sleigh has big Christmas dreams.

Although the detailed, full-color art doesn’t anthropomorphize the protagonist (which readers will likely identify as a sled and not a sleigh), a close third-person text affords the object thoughts and feelings while assigning feminine pronouns. “She longed to become Santa’s big red sleigh,” reads an early line establishing the sleigh’s motivation to leave her Christmas-shop home for the North Pole. Other toys discourage her, but she perseveres despite creeping self-doubt. A train and truck help the sleigh along, and when she wishes she were big, fast, and powerful like them, they offer encouragement and counsel patience. When a storm descends after the sleigh strikes out on her own, an unnamed girl playing in the snow brings her to a group of children who all take turns riding the sleigh down a hill. When the girl brings her home, the sleigh is crestfallen she didn’t reach the North Pole. A convoluted happily-ever-after ending shows a note from Santa that thanks the sleigh for giving children joy and invites her to the North Pole next year. “At last she understood what she was meant to do. She would build her life up spreading joy, one child at a time.” Will she leave the girl’s house to be gifted to other children? Will she stay and somehow also reach ever more children? Readers will be left wondering. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 31.8% of actual size.)

Sadly, the storytelling runs aground. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72822-355-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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