Doesn’t dig up anything new, but built for toddler enjoyment.

THE WHEELS ON THE DUMP TRUCK

Construction work set to the rhythm of “The Wheels on the Bus.”

The bulldozer, excavator, and cement truck and their anthropomorphic animal operators are building a park in stages. The use of the beat of “The Wheels on the Bus” gives the book a familiar cadence that is sure to appeal to toddlers tuned in to the childhood classic. Though the book doesn’t invite or direct readers to sing the text, it’s hard not to. Only then does the text feel clumsy, as the opening line of the book breaks with the original’s cadence, and lines such as “the workers on the construction trucks” don’t bounce along the way readers’ ears will tell them they should. Brown’s illustrations are nicely detailed (a tiny blueprint with drawings!), and the diminutive bunnies, hedgehog, and fox are reminiscent of characters in Richard Scarry’s classic Busy Town Busy People (1976). The way that the finished park slowly comes together not only is true to the process, but also engages readers and encourages them to make predictions about what the animals are building. Though the words don’t dazzle, children will enjoy the dirt-covered construction vehicles.

Doesn’t dig up anything new, but built for toddler enjoyment. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4248-1

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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An unabashed love letter from mother.

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE POOKIE

From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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