All sails are set and pulling in this imaginative matchup of words and pictures.

I WANT A BOAT!

A young child uses their imagination to conjure up a boat, a sea, and an adventure. And that’s just the beginning.

The story begins with wordless illustrations showing a child (illustrated with pale skin and red hair) dragging a box to their room. “I have a box. / I want a boat,” the child states. As the child’s imagination kicks into gear, boat, rudder, sail, sea, map, and crew are all imaginatively conjured. But when a storm is asked for, things get a bit dicey. (It all ends well.) The clipped narrative delivers a sturdy bass line thrumming with appealing protagonist confidence, but it is the illustrations that make it all a resounding success. With both clarity and a confident understatement that echoes the confidence of the narrative, the full-color illustrations are presented with a fine attention to detail that enriches and deepens the story, enabling readers to use their own imaginations as they pick out what has changed illustratively and what is developing. On a broader scale, the page-by-page design also augments the theme: When the child’s imagination hasn’t yet soared, the illustrations are contained by white space on which the text is printed. As the child’s imagination takes hold, the text is included inside the boxed illustrations, and as the imagination takes over, the illustrations become full-bleed double-page spreads.

All sails are set and pulling in this imaginative matchup of words and pictures. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4715-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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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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