Neat as the visual patterns are, their excruciatingly fine-grained complexity is likely to cause more frustration than...

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SEARCH AND SPOT

GO!

Ljungkvist follows up Search and Spot: Animals (2015) with a bevy of vehicles to spot amid fleets of planes, boats, cars, buses, and other ways of going.

Even Waldo isn’t better hidden, as the rank after rank of tiny, fine-lined shapes and narrow bands of color on each spread offer dizzying challenges to even the most practiced young eyes. The tallies of what to look for within each bewildering visual maze are likewise exhausting—one spread, for instance, conceals “10 helicopters, 10 hot air balloons, 8 airplanes with one propeller, and 6 planes that have 2 propellers.” Elsewhere, on one spread, diverse shapes including “6 green things that you would pedal” overlap to create a jumble of lines and colors, and on another, among 78 multihued and identically shaped bicycles on a page are seven with a particular sequence of colors on their thin wheels and bodies. In four cases text in large circular frames is placed over the patterns rather than to the side, leaving many vehicles or items only partially visible.

Neat as the visual patterns are, their excruciatingly fine-grained complexity is likely to cause more frustration than pleasure, even in obsessive types. (visual key online) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-57042-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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

TINY LITTLE ROCKET

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 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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As the old truck stays with its family, this charming book will stay with readers.

THE OLD TRUCK

The eponymous old truck serves as the vehicle for a quiet story about farm life and hard work.

Brothers Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey created over 250 stamps to create the striking illustrations that give the book a distinct look and echo the message of hard work and persistence pouring from it. The declarative simplicity of the text is perfect for an emerging reader without betraying the strength of the story. As the book describes how hardworking the truck is, readers see the smiling, brown-skinned parents and daughter, wordlessly at work. The family can be seen loading produce onto the truck, carrying baskets back into the barn, feeding chickens, and fixing the truck. The placement of the sun on the horizon line demonstrates how long the family works each day. At night, the daughter dreams: "The old truck sailed the seas, / braved the skies, / and chased the stars." As the truck ages, so does the family; most notably, readers see the girl grow into a woman. Now “the new farmer,” she tows the truck out of tall grass. She works long into the night to repair it. But dreams and persistence pay off: “VROOOOOOOM!!” This heartfelt celebration of resilience in the face of change, with a determined Black woman at its center, packs a powerful punch.

As the old truck stays with its family, this charming book will stay with readers. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-324-00519-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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