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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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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