Mayo and Ayliffe move from one favorite set of vehicles—heavy equipment (Dig, Dig, Digging, p. 574) to the other—the ones that make noise and tear through the streets, sky, and waterways. “Whee-oww! Whee-oww! Pull over, make way!” Children will practically hear the sirens wail as a succession of emergencies brings out appropriate rescue vehicles: a police car for a break-in; a tow truck for a wrecked car; a fire truck, a snowplow, ambulance, lifeboat, helicopter, and more. Ayliffe’s collages depict them all as big, blocky, brightly colored shapes, generally seen in action, then retreating afterwards to their respective garages—“all tucked away, / Ready and waiting for the next 911 call.” There is a bit of disconnection between pictures and text, as according to the often-repeated refrain help is always coming—“It’s on the way!”—but never seems to arrive. Still, like Gail Gibbons’s Emergency! (1994), this sends a message at once exciting and reassuring. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-87614-922-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2002

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Enthralling, uplifting: a celebration of everyday heroes’ journeys in the quest for education and learning.


A child braves floodwaters and embarks on an adventure.

The Mekong Delta is home to the young Vietnamese narrator anticipating a big day: “I wake up with the sun creeping into the sky and wait for tide and time to bring to me my little open boat.” Venturing on a familiar trip—yet alone for the first time—the child stands and paddles into the waves, steadied by a backpack, cautious confidence, and words of parental encouragement. Panoramic illustrations with the feel of animation create a magical cinematic effect that renders scenery and motion through multiple perspectives, capturing atmospheric weather patterns and magnificent tropical flora and fauna—some highly dangerous and threatening. The self-aware text draws astute metaphoric parallels between the landscape and the classroom the child journeys to. Anxiety over “a thousand” prying eyes and “scary” places dissipates as courage and knowledge prompt the child to “turn the unfamiliar into family...write my name across the blackboard of the river.” Sumptuously textured landscapes detailing lotuses and inky swells create vivid contrasts while reminding viewers of the ecosystem’s fragile balance. This solo voyage concludes as the child approaches the school on dry land, greeted by friendly water buffalo “galumphing near the shore” and other children, many with gap-toothed smiles that match the narrator’s. The book closes with further information about the Mekong River and its delta. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Enthralling, uplifting: a celebration of everyday heroes’ journeys in the quest for education and learning. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30626-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Make Me a World

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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A pleaser for fans of big rigs and disaster scenarios alike.


An international gallery of air, sea, and land firefighting and rescue vehicles, with hinged flaps offering peeks inside each.

Drawn with Biesty’s trademark attention to fine detail and printed on stiff cardboard, the eight featured vehicles include an Australian police car festooned with cameras and other high-tech gear, a NATO submarine rescue pod, a big New York City fireboat, and a British Tamar-class motorized lifeboat. Explanatory labels and small views of the vehicle in action or of other makes with similar jobs surround the large central image. Though the artist apparently can’t resist adding an occasional cutaway view, the flaps are designed to be almost invisible at first glance so that viewers can get a sense of what each vehicle actually looks like before they start delving into insides and distinctive gear. The labeling is sometimes perfunctory—the contents of a helicopter ambulance’s baggage compartment are generically dubbed “Emergency equipment,” and a ground-based ambulance features “privacy windows,” whatever that means—but overall the text adds informative notes about specialized features, life-saving capabilities, power plants, top speeds, and other performance data.

A pleaser for fans of big rigs and disaster scenarios alike. (Informational novelty. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7959-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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