Instructional, comforting, and threaded with multiple air-travel story strands, this travelogue delivers at many altitudes.

THE AIRPORT BOOK

This good-humored introduction to air travel follows a multiracial family (black dad, white mom, two brown kids) through the airport, down the jetway, and onto their plane.

Each step receives cleareyed treatment. Vivid ink-and-watercolor illustrations capture the lines, bag checks, security screenings, surreal little village of restaurants and shops within the terminal, and finally the waiting alongside other travelers who stretch, bicker, bob to music, babble on the phone, sleep, and listen for their boarding group to be called. Explanatory narration in the second-person is filtered through the lens of the family’s older sibling. It eases readers through these experiences, reassuring them with clarity, candor, and repeated words, most often the word sometimes, which emerges as a comforting acknowledgement of expected variance. “Sometimes you get something to drink. Sometimes you get something to eat. / Sometimes there is a movie to watch. Sometimes there are people to talk to. / Sometimes the plane is bouncy, but most of the time it is smooth.” Readers drift along with the easygoing voice, much like a traveler gliding along a moving walkway. Brightly colored people and baggage fill double-page spreads, nudging readers to look closely at faces, stances, attitudes, and activities to spin narratives for the travelers. Strategically placed text, with modest typeface and subtle sizing, makes the story-building straightforward and the busy pictures navigable.

Instructional, comforting, and threaded with multiple air-travel story strands, this travelogue delivers at many altitudes. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62672-091-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Grown-ups be warned: Young fingers will delight in pressing the tractor’s buttons (and yours!) over and over.

NOISY TRACTOR

From the I Can Learn series

Little ones can explore a day in the life of a rubber-covered, audio-enabled tractor.

The “5 noisy parts!” promised on the cover are powered by a battery embedded in the back of the book, the compartment securely screwed shut. Youngsters are prompted by the text to press various parts of the tractor to make interesting sound effects, such as an engine starting then chugging, a horn, and tire noise on muddy or rocky terrain. A large, tractor-shaped die-cut hole in every page allows children to access the vehicle on every double-page spread but leaves the left-hand pages dominated by that tractor-shaped hole. Farm animals make their signature sounds via speech bubble (horses, chicks, and cows, to name a few) along with other critters offering suggestions about which buttons on the tractor to press. For additional play value, a ladybug and a caterpillar can be spotted on every double-page spread. Labels for most of the animals appear in a clear font along with other farm-centric vocabulary words: pitchfork, seedlings, trough. Elliott’s art is busy, but the simple, eye-catching patterns and graphically clean lines in bright colors will appeal to the audience. While this offering is perfect for toddlers, the extensive warnings in the fine print on the back of the book about what may happen if the button battery is swallowed should scare adults into being vigilant. Thankfully, there is an on/off switch allowing for toggling between a quiet and noisy reading experience.

Grown-ups be warned: Young fingers will delight in pressing the tractor’s buttons (and yours!) over and over. (Novelty board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-669-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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