An anthropomorphic screw introduces readers to the tools in his shed then suffers a modest existential crisis before he learns his own raison d’être.
Cerato deploys a vibrant palette and plenty of electric complementary colors—although the absence of a distinctive hand other than an electronic one is also in evidence—to add an important degree of oomph to this scant narrative. Drew, the tour guide, is a screw of few words: “The tape measures.” “The hammer hits.” “The saw cuts.” Easy enough for a book aimed at fledgling readers, 59 words in total, with illustrations full of bold action to help put the words into their contexts. Some of the sentences are a bit limp—“The clamp holds things”; as does, for instance, a refrigerator—and it does feel a bit aggressive when friendly little Drew finds himself encircled by his tool mates, who demand, “What can you do?” as if Drew were a third wheel in the toolshed. Then the freckle-faced white boy who has been busy in the background all this time scoops Drew up and puts his insecurities to rest, although Cerato never explains exactly what it is that Drew does, just shows him happily holding a sign in place. He could, after all, just be another clamp.
Words like “measures” might be challenging for this first reader, but for the most part, Cerato brings the coolness of working in the toolshed to life. (Picture book. 4-8)