TURBO'S SPECIAL DELIVERY

A reminder that when life’s moving too fast, it’s OK to step on the brakes and rein yourself in.

Can a fast truck slow down?

One day, speedy Turbo is the only truck left in the lot, and brown-skinned Rosa, the supervisor, needs him for a special job: carrying fragile cargo. Before he leaves, Rosa reminds him he can’t make any fancy moves on the road, like zigging, zagging, bouncing, or sliding. Turbo ZOOMS out…but then remembers to s-l-o-w down. During the journey, he takes it easy and can’t believe other vehicles are actually passing him. But Turbo’s unhurried pace turns out to be a good thing, for it allows a duck family to amble across the road. Another positive of leisureliness? For the first time, Turbo notices fresh country air and beautiful scenery. Finally, Turbo moves downhill toward his final destination—the park—with his very precious load still perfectly, deliciously intact. This cute story reassures kids that controlling impulses isn’t as hard as it might seem—plus it offers noticeable benefits and immediate rewards. Readers will relate to cute Turbo, who’s an expressive, vulnerable stand-in for little ones who often find it hard to slow down. All-capped onomatopoeic words, incorporated into the colorful, lively digital artwork, enliven the proceedings. Background human characters are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A reminder that when life’s moving too fast, it’s OK to step on the brakes and rein yourself in. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2023

ISBN: 9780063288935

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2023

CRANKY

Kids will come for the construction vehicles and leave with some social-emotional skills.

Anthropomorphic trucks and construction vehicles work through big feelings.

“I’m Cranky,” announces a yellow crane—that’s our protagonist’s name and state of mind. It’s a big day at the construction site; everyone’s completing work on the construction of a new bridge. Friends like Zippy the cement mixer and Wheezy the forklift encourage Cranky to cheer up. But their positivity only makes Cranky feel worse. Cranky eats alone at lunch and feels increasingly isolated as the day goes on. When Zippy and Wheezy express concern, Cranky suddenly becomes even more upset: “Asking me what’s wrong makes me feel like it’s not okay for me to be cranky!” The others back off, and slowly, the grouchy crane’s mood starts to improve. And the friends are right there when Cranky is ready to open up. Bright colors, adorably anthropomorphic vehicles, and layouts that alternate between vignettes and full-page spreads will hold readers’ attention through what is a mostly introspective narrative. Tran imparts some solid messages, such as the importance of giving pals the space they need and communicating your needs, even if you choose not to share everything. Some of the nuance will be lost on younger readers, but the story will spark conversations with others. Construction puns such as “self-of-steam” should get some chuckles from older kids and adults.

Kids will come for the construction vehicles and leave with some social-emotional skills. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9780063256286

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

EVEN SUPERHEROES HAVE BAD DAYS

An action-packed romp.

Superheroes deal with their emotions.

What happens when the empowered have a terrible day? Becker posits that while they could go on destructive sprees and wreak havoc, the caped crusaders and men and women of steel harness their energies and direct it in constructive ways. Little readers filled with energy and emotion may learn to draw similar conclusions, but the author doesn’t hammer home the message. The author has much more fun staging scenes of chaos and action, and Kaban clearly has a ball illustrating them. Superheroes could use laser vision to burn down forests and weather powers to freeze beachgoers. They could ignore crime sprees and toss vehicles across state lines. These hypothetical violent spectacles are softened by the cartoonish stylizations and juxtaposed with pages filled with heroic, “true” efforts such as rounding up criminals and providing fun at an amusement park. The illustrations are energetic and feature multicultural heroes. The vigorous illustrations make this a read for older children, as the busyness could overwhelm very little ones. While the book’s formula recalls How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? and its many sequels, the relative scarcity of superhero picture books means there’s a place on the shelf for it.

An action-packed romp. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4549-1394-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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