These trucks are stuck in a concept that isn’t up to speed, with a plot that ultimately sputters and runs out of gas.

READ REVIEW

HOW TO TRACK A TRUCK

An Asian boy named Mike narrates a guide to finding and taming a truck as an unusual type of pet.

In this companion to How to Train a Train (2013), Eaton and Rocco again imagine hunting and capturing a huge transportation vehicle, taming it, and taking it home. Narrator Mike has his own garage and owns two dump trucks and a fire engine as his personal pet trucks. He advises readers on various types of trucks and recommends looking for a truck “in its native habitat.” Mike explains how to catch a truck by using a trail of orange traffic cones and recommends finding the pet truck a “useful project” and other trucks for playtime. Seven children of different ethnicities find and name their own pet trucks and then watch as their pets work together in an imaginative construction project in a way that’s described as “pure magic.” Several illustrations of the children may have safety-conscious adults sucking their teeth, with some kids riding on top of moving vehicles and others standing perilously near to trucks in motion. An extra-large trim size accommodates the big rigs, but the human characters are proportionally tiny and somewhat lost in the design. The trucks themselves don’t work visually either as pets or as individual characters. Their headlights serve as eyes, but the vehicles never seem alive or particularly appealing.

These trucks are stuck in a concept that isn’t up to speed, with a plot that ultimately sputters and runs out of gas. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8065-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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A slight addition to a seasonal collection redeemed by its striking illustrations.

GOODBYE WINTER, HELLO SPRING

A dialogic approach to the turn of the seasons.

A young child, with beige skin and dark hair, and a white dog walk through the darkened, snowy countryside. They greet the snow and the winter night; a frozen pond and an empty nest; and even a glass house. Each in turn answers back, offering insight into their experience of the chilly atmosphere. Following a wordless spread that serves as a pictorial climax, the season shifts toward spring, with increased sunlight, warmth, melting snow, and the renewed presence of songbirds and flowers. The world has come to life again, and the child and dog run through green fields sparsely patched with retreating snow. The contrasting color palettes and geometric shapes in the accumulating spreads effectively evoke the stark darkness of winter and the bright warmth of spring. Ground-level and bird’s-eye perspectives of the rural setting and tiny details reward eagle-eyed readers. The rapid change from nocturnal winter storm to bright, green spring day seems a bit contrived, underscoring the book’s premise of transition and metamorphosis. Moreover, the child’s conversation with the natural world at times leaves readers unclear of who is speaking, which may cause confusion during a read-aloud. This is the third book in Pak’s seasonal cycle.

A slight addition to a seasonal collection redeemed by its striking illustrations. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-15172-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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