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JACK’S HOUSE

There is a little joke lurking for readers in Beil’s twist on the classic cumulative tale of the house that Jack built. This is not to diminish the pleasantly steamrolling construction work or the agreeable narrative presence of Max the dog, whom readers learn honchoed the effort while Jack busied himself elsewhere. Max introduces readers to bulldozers and backhoes and forklifts, and a handful of trucks: cement, rack, boom and dump. These great machines loom on the page, but Wohnoutka has beveled the edges to make them as soft as sponge cake and just as desirable, as they shimmer in the heat of a summer afternoon. The text chugs along with no surprises—“This is the van / that brought the hammock, cozy and snug / where the trees were planted / and the roof was nailed / and the windows were framed…”—until Jack gets his comeuppance and Max gets his just deserts. This book was built for those youngsters with a jones for trucks and other big wheels, and it delivers in spades. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8234-1913-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2008

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TINY LITTLE ROCKET

A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off.

This rocket hopes to take its readers on a birthday blast—but there may or may not be enough fuel.

Once a year, a one-seat rocket shoots out from Earth. Why? To reveal a special congratulatory banner for a once-a-year event. The second-person narration puts readers in the pilot’s seat and, through a (mostly) ballad-stanza rhyme scheme (abcb), sends them on a journey toward the sun, past meteors, and into the Kuiper belt. The final pages include additional information on how birthdays are measured against the Earth’s rotations around the sun. Collingridge aims for the stars with this title, and he mostly succeeds. The rhyme scheme flows smoothly, which will make listeners happy, but the illustrations (possibly a combination of paint with digital enhancements) may leave the viewers feeling a little cold. The pilot is seen only with a 1960s-style fishbowl helmet that completely obscures the face, gender, and race by reflecting the interior of the rocket ship. This may allow readers/listeners to picture themselves in the role, but it also may divest them of any emotional connection to the story. The last pages—the backside of a triple-gatefold spread—label the planets and include Pluto. While Pluto is correctly labeled as a dwarf planet, it’s an unusual choice to include it but not the other dwarfs: Ceres, Eris, etc. The illustration also neglects to include the asteroid belt or any of the solar system’s moons.

A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-18949-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: David Fickling/Phoenix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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TRASHY TOWN

Part of a spate of books intent on bringing the garbage collectors in children’s lives a little closer, this almost matches...

Listeners will quickly take up the percussive chorus—“Dump it in, smash it down, drive around the Trashy town! Is the trash truck full yet? NO”—as they follow burly Mr. Gilly, the garbage collector, on his rounds from park to pizza parlor and beyond.

Flinging cans and baskets around with ease, Mr. Gilly dances happily through streetscapes depicted with loud colors and large, blocky shapes; after a climactic visit to the dump, he roars home for a sudsy bath.

Part of a spate of books intent on bringing the garbage collectors in children’s lives a little closer, this almost matches Eve Merriam’s Bam Bam Bam (1995), also illustrated by Yaccarino, for sheer verbal and visual volume. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 30, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-027139-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1999

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