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)