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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Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool.

PETE THE KITTY'S FIRST DAY OF PRESCHOOL

From the Pete the Cat series

The popular character enjoys storytime, painting, and a snack on the very first day of preschool.

The younger incarnation of Pete the Cat packs his backpack that he picked out from the store himself, gets a snack from his mom, and rides the school bus with his big brother, Bob (who isn’t much bigger than Pete, sizewise). At school, Pete meets his stylish teacher, Mrs. Lopez, and fellow feline classmates while keeping his signature cool. The day ends with Pete declaring: “Preschool is awesome! Pete loves everything!” James Dean’s big-eyed cats populate the simply drawn scenes that look as though they were painted in preschool-esque fashion with thick swaths of tempera. At a couple of moments (when he eats his banana and declares it tasty and when he sings along) his customarily expressionless face actually breaks into a smile. Kimberly Dean’s text is uninspired, but it’s in sync with the upbeat tone of the series. Pete’s preschool experience, while not particularly realistic, is a highly positive one; refreshingly, there is no trace of the separation anxiety or anxiousness found in many first-day-of-school books.

Likely to be popular with young Pete the Cat fans and parents seeking a gentle introduction to preschool. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06243582-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperFestival

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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