From the Ty's Travels series

Both an excellent book for guided reading and a winning read-aloud.

Ty loves adventure, but he is having a little trouble finding someone to join him.

Ty, a little black boy, wants to play, but everyone in the house is too busy to take time for him. After being turned down by his dad, mom, and big brother, Corey, Ty wanders downstairs to the family room, where he finds an empty cardboard box. He and his puppy inspect the box, draw some wheels onto it, and make a locomotive that rumbles and whistles down an imaginary track. Ty steers his train past farmland and a city and through a tunnel, picking up familiar and eager passengers along the way. This My First I Can Read book will engage young beginning readers. They will relate to Ty’s playfulness, sense of adventure, and energetic imagination. Readers will also enjoy the vivid and playful illustrations that take them from Ty’s home and into the world he imagines. Repeated onomatopoeic phrases build anticipation: “Woo-woo,” “Chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga,” and “Clickety-clack.” These are framed around the pickup of each passenger, helping to control pacing while giving readers an opportunity for fun. Mata renders the imaginary scenes in a childlike crayon that blends nicely with the warm visions of this black family’s middle-class home.

Both an excellent book for guided reading and a winning read-aloud. (Early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-295107-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020


Wormell (Blue Rabbit and the Runaway Wheel, see above) seamlessly blends landscape and playscape in this tale of a wonderfully catastrophic train wreck. As if it’s not bad enough that blubbery Mrs. Walrus, Mr. Bear, and Mrs. Elephant forcibly wedge themselves into the train’s tiny cars for a shopping trip into town, on their return they’re carrying 600 sardines, 15 loaves of bread, pots of honey, and a mountain of fresh fruit. “ ‘It’s just a matter of balance,’ ” Mrs. Elephant cheerfully assures the worried conductor. Indeed it is—until a bee crawls up Mrs. Elephant’s trunk, prompting a monumental sneeze. Groceries are scattered everywhere. What to do? Invite everyone to a picnic! Rather than his usual polychrome woodcuts, Wormell creates soft-edged, colored-pencil drawings here for a “younger,” softer look, depicting a simply carved wooden train sturdily pulling three hilariously overloaded cars. Afterward, willing trunks and flippers reset the tumbled cars onto their tracks, and off the train chugs, leaving the bloated picnickers strewn about like beached whales. Ending on a peaceful, satiated note, this explosive episode makes a first-rate entry in the annals of picture-book sneezes. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83986-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2000


From the Everything Goes series

A glory ride for young car, truck, train, bus and trolley devotees.

In a visual feast for fans of wheeled vehicles large and small, Biggs presents a series of high-density street scenes done in an amiably rumpled cartoon style.

Driving in from the ’burbs to a generic metropolis, a lad and his dad gloss each big, double-page spread—“ ‘Do trucks work the same way as cars?’ / ‘Many of them do. Trucks also have jobs, like cars’ ”—as they glide through heavy traffic, past a construction site and under an elevated highway. They wait for fleets of bikes and motorcycles to pass and park at last near a train station to pick up Mom. Along with sparely labeled close-up or cutaway views of a car, a bicycle, a big truck, a subway station, an RV and other specimens, the author sets up the family reunion at the end with a giant double-gatefold aerial view of an entire neighborhood packed with traffic, pedestrians, local businesses and signs, each one individually distinct. Jokey side conversations (one firefighter tells another, "There's no fire. It's just a cat"; his companion asks, "Should we get some milk?") play off more serious and informative dialogue. A diagram of a car is accompanied by a disquisition on the relationship between a car battery and the motor, as well as the fact that "[a]n electric car uses batteries and electric motor. No gas!"

A glory ride for young car, truck, train, bus and trolley devotees. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-195809-0

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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