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The book that’ll give Richard Scarry’s venerable Cars and Trucks and Things That Goa run for its money.

Cars, trucks, and the wheels they rode in on grab the spotlight and won’t let go in this vehicular celebration.

The usual smattering of car/truck/bus facts gets an international kick in the pants. Within the book’s three sections (“Cars,” “Trucks,” and “Wheels”), readers delve deep into rhymes, chants, very short stories, and more. There’s even more onomatopoeia than is usually found in a book full of vehicle facts. In this way the book is designed to appeal to those younger readers who appreciate hearing that a tow truck’s platform tips up with a “whoosh, bop.” One section even allows kids to “drive” a tractor from its cab, though the onomatopoeia here comes from farm animals readers see on either side of the windshield and dial-studded dashboard. On occasion the book may be overoptimistic. Kids may thrill to the array of “Future Cars” and the wonders the book proposes, but the promise that “soon we will all be taking rides in electric cars, buses, and trucks” may not be borne out, at least within a child’s understanding of “soon.” The book is admirable in its worldwide scope, as when it surveys the different designs to be found on trucks in India, Pakistan, Japan, and Peru. It stumbles in describing the Dakar Rally exclusively as a South American event (it began as a Paris-Dakar race and is now held in Saudi Arabia). While text often resembles poetry, only some reaches for rhyme.

The book that’ll give Richard Scarry’s venerable Cars and Trucks and Things That Goa run for its money. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68464-244-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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From the Beginner Books series

Smoother rides are out there.

Mommy and Bonnie—two anthropomorphic rodents—go for a joyride and notice a variety of conveyances around their busy town.

The pair encounter 22 types of vocational vehicles as they pass various sites, including a fire engine leaving a firehouse, a school bus approaching a school, and a tractor trailer delivering goods to a supermarket. Narrated in rhyming quatrains, the book describes the jobs that each wheeled machine does. The text uses simple vocabulary and sentences, with sight words aplenty. Some of the rhymes don't scan as well as others, and the description of the mail truck’s role ("A mail truck brings / letters and cards / to mailboxes / in people's yards) ignores millions of readers living in yardless dwellings. The colorful digitally illustrated spreads are crowded with animal characters of every type hustling and bustling about. Although the art is busy, observant viewers may find humor in details such as a fragile item falling out of a moving truck, a line of ducks holding up traffic, and a squirrel’s spilled ice cream. For younger children enthralled by vehicles, Sally Sutton’s Roadwork (2011) and Elizabeth Verdick’s Small Walt series provide superior text and art and kinder humor. Children who have little interest in cars, trucks, and construction equipment may find this offering a yawner. Despite being advertised as a beginner book, neither text nor art recommend this as an engaging choice for children starting to read independently. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Smoother rides are out there. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-37725-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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The lack of real excitement will make these helpers fade from memory like sirens on a distant road.

Part emergency adventure, part reassurance that help is on the way—youngsters fascinated by vehicles with sirens will be attracted to this board book.

Straightforward, declarative text and fanciful, somewhat futuristic pictures describe “a big beautiful world, filled with awesome adventures.” The second spread previews the helpers and their vehicles with profile views of six types of vehicles against a clean white background. The final spread shows front views of the same six rescue vehicles. In between, spreads focus on three different emergencies. In a busy spread headlined “Uh-oh, an accident,” readers see a police car, an ambulance, and a tow truck, while a police helicopter hovers overhead. “Uh-oh, a storm!” shows the water-based versions of emergency vehicles against a rain-gray background. “Uh-oh, a fire!” focuses on firefighters, with police and EMTs playing supporting roles. All the vehicles are staffed by smiling animal characters reminiscent of Richard Scarry’s Busytown creatures but without the whimsy of those classics. The final text proclaims that “helpers…are the ones who save the world.” The wordy text and detailed pictures make this board book most suited for older toddlers intrigued by emergency vehicles, but the placid delivery is out of sync with the notion that the depicted world is in peril.

The lack of real excitement will make these helpers fade from memory like sirens on a distant road. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0599-8

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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