Unchallenging, easygoing summertime fun guaranteed to please young truck aficionados.

TOW TRUCK JOE MAKES A SPLASH

Summer blues are washed clean away in this cheery, bubbly, truck-filled adventure.

Tow Truck Joe’s a busy vehicle when summer comes around. With the aid of his trusty pal Patch the Pup, he sets about fixing busted bells on ice cream trucks, flat tires on campers, and stalled beach buses. After a grueling series of jump-starts, it’s time to cool off in the carwash. But what’s this? An 18-wheeler’s gotten stuck in the carwash, and even Tow Truck Joe’s not strong enough to pull it out. Whatever can be done? Children with a penchant for anthropomorphized trucks and cars (with nary a human in sight) may not find this book too different from similar titles out there, but they’ll hardly care. Gentle rhymes convey an even gentler storyline, with a happy ending for one and all. The real treat, however, lies in the tiny details hidden in the art. Sharp-eyed adults may enjoy peeking at background signs and buildings, like the MoMA (Museum of Motor Art, with an exhibit of Vincent Van-Go), the Brake Disc record shop, or the spray-tan ad to “build your base coat.” The little-kid VW Bugs are adorable. Even environmentalists can enjoy it, as these electric vehicles hook up to a charging point at the end of the day. Best of all, the summer season comes through loud and clear on each and every page. (This book was reviewed digitally with 7.8-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 32.6% of actual size.)

Unchallenging, easygoing summertime fun guaranteed to please young truck aficionados. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-06366-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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