Frankie the semi introduces himself and all the things he can do.
A big rig gets up close and personal in Swenson’s latest, and young vehicle lovers will be enthralled. Frankie pulls no punches in this down-to-earth look at semis. He speaks directly to readers, and his voice is definitely that of a truck. (Those who read this aloud may be thrown off by the rhyme that comes and goes.) Frankie counts his 18 wheels (by twos), shows what he is hauling and invites readers along for the ride. Onomatopoeic words in a large font fill up the spreads as Frankie blasts his horn for readers, tests out his Jake brake, turns on the wipers during a brief storm and suffers a blown tire, all capturing the real-life sounds. Frankie introduces readers to trucking terms and phrases (defined in the “Truck-tionary” in the backmatter) that are sure to tickle young readers’ fancies: alligator, magic mile, back off the hammer, Christmas tree. Throughout, Young’s brightly colored Cars-like illustrations bring Frankie to life, the windshield his eyes, the front bumper his mouth, the rest of the truck body serving to help express his emotions. Frankie’s surroundings are slightly retro, but all is shiny and spiffed, just like the big rig himself.
Youngsters who meet Frankie will be looking for him on every highway, as he’s a friend they won’t soon forget. (Picture book. 3-5)