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

READ REVIEW

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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Engines won’t be the only thing roaring their approval when this book hits storytime.

ELBOW GREASE VS. MOTOZILLA

Who needs sanity when you’ve got family?

The title character of Elbow Grease (2018) and his family of Demolition Derby trucks return to face an all-new competitor. Once again, ’Bo is feeling inadequate next to his fan-favorite brothers. Despite Mel the Mechanic’s encouragement—he’s “the best at getting better”—he wants to be noticed. But instead, he notices someone unavoidable. Motozilla, the monster machine that turns trucks “into crunch sandwiches,” is currently undefeated. Trouble is, you’d need a truck with an array of skills to take him down. Thinking fast, ’Bo makes the wild and somewhat improbable suggestion that he and his brothers join together to form a single supertruck. Will it be enough to take down this bully? Quips, jests, and teamwork are the name of the game as pro wrestler Cena improves on his writing in this second outing, which demonstrates that individual glory falls in the face of concentrated cooperation. Rollicking, radical art portrays the battle in all its gritty glory, mud and twisted metal galore. Human crowds show a diverse range of races and genders, and the trucks’ keeper, Mel, has light-brown skin and wears glasses.

Engines won’t be the only thing roaring their approval when this book hits storytime. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7353-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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