While it’s cute and will help to complete vehicle lovers’ collections, this package doesn’t do much to address school fears...

THE LITTLE SCHOOL BUS

Rhyming verses stretch out the job of a school bus to 12 spreads.

Driving down the road, picking up kids and dropping them off, visiting the mechanic, operating the wheelchair platform and going around a bend are a few of the things the yellow vehicle does in the job it so obviously loves, as evidenced by its smiling bumper, cheerful eyes and pink cheeks—all vehicle parts. Each verse starts with “I’m a little school bus,” so readers (especially those reading aloud) will be hard-pressed not to try to force the rhymes into the tune for “I’m a Little Teapot.” Some work better than others, both at fitting the tune and scanning well. “I’m a little school bus / waiting by the walk. / Boys and girls climb on, / sit and laugh and talk.” Kolar’s digital illustrations are cartoon-bright, the people are nicely diverse, and there’s not a grumpy face to be found. Oddly, the creators choose not to focus on a single day; the illustrations go from skirt- and shorts-clad children to a snow day and back to T-shirts in just three spreads. There’s not much on bus safety (save lining up to get on and don’t put your hands out the windows), and the pictures never show the inside of the bus.

While it’s cute and will help to complete vehicle lovers’ collections, this package doesn’t do much to address school fears or preparedness in the preschool audience it appears to be aimed at. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9435-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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A picture-book favorite despite minor flaws? That’s a 10-4, good buddy.

TEENY TINY TRUCKS

In McCanna and Frawley’s cheery picture-book debut, miniscule vehicles drive into supersized action.

Accompanied by a bouncy rhyme, several brightly colored trucks rumble through the garden: the lead red-and-blue truck, the more feminine purple truck and the gridlock-loathing aqua truck. Though the color palette and cartoon appearance of the nameless vehicles may seem like a carbon copy of Disney’s Cars (2006), illustrator Frawley has included humorous details for each truck, giving them life beyond their big-screen predecessors. For instance, the red-and-blue truck has jaunty eyebrows created from roof lights, the purple truck’s short bursts of steam look like daisies, and the aqua truck’s expressive eyebrows are actually wiper blades. The illustrations help tell a hilarious story, most notably of a traffic jam featuring a frog, slug and worm who are clearly not amused by the crowded garden path. McCanna similarly handles the text well. The rhythmic pattern is clear, most of the rhyme is spot-on—“Teeny tiny tires. With teeny tiny treads. / Leaving teeny tiny trails between the flower beds”—and the story begs to be read aloud to a group. Typical trucker talk is included in the dialogue—“Breaker breaker, Buddy!” “What’s your twenty, Friend?”—and the lingo is explained in a short glossary at the end of the story. Though the premise is amusing, the proportion of the trucks in relation to their surroundings can be a bit inconsistent. Most images depict the trucks, which are “smaller than a dime,” as being only marginally bigger than ants and bees, yet other images portray the trucks as being much larger—almost half as long as a box of animal crackers. Nevertheless, this delightful story will charm truck-loving children.

A picture-book favorite despite minor flaws? That’s a 10-4, good buddy.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0989668811

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Bahalia Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2013

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Not Maisy’s finest exploit but likely to excite an “ARRRR!” or two from scurvy knavelets who can’t get enough of the...

MAISY'S PIRATE SHIP

A POP-UP-AND-PLAY BOOK

Avast! On a pop-up pirate ship, punch-out figures of Capt. Maisy and her crew set sail in search of a treasure chest (also punch-out).

More toy than tale, this alternative to Maisy’s Pirate Treasure Hunt (2004) offers perfunctory scene setting on three opening spreads before getting to the main event: on a base designed to lie flat, a two-piece ship with unfolding sails beneath a pair of big flaps. Budding buccaneers can peer into the vessel’s nether regions through the split as well as place the four figurines either on board or into a punch-out dinghy. All four figurines, along with several nondetachable crewmates, are attired in properly piratical garb save an elephant who models skull-and-crossbones patterned shorts. An inset pocket provides handy storage for the loose parts when it’s time to close the covers.

Not Maisy’s finest exploit but likely to excite an “ARRRR!” or two from scurvy knavelets who can’t get enough of the redoubtable rodent. (Pop-up playscape. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7941-5

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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