A market-driven economy lesson, with friendship squeezed in, too.

READ REVIEW

SCOOP THE ICE CREAM TRUCK

An old ice cream truck is feeling left out among the newer, flashier models.

Scoop has been selling vanilla ice cream for many, many summers. But things are changing. Now, as he winds his way down his familiar route, he passes trendy sushi restaurants and organic grocery stores. There are newer ice cream trucks on the street as well: gaudy ones, with bright colors and exclusive flavors. “Nobody wanted a little vanilla cone anymore.” Dejected, Scoop drives to a quiet street to rest. He dreams of woodlands and mountains far away from the changing neighborhood, until a red ball bounces off his side. A tiny tot with pale skin and stubby brown pigtails wants to play. Scoop decides to call her Spunky, gives her a cone, and they have fun. But the other trucks hear their laughter and swoop in, not wanting to miss an untapped customer base. The little girl is dazzled by the explosion of options. Scoop decides he needs an upgrade. He goes to the Dodgy Wheels Garage and comes out with flashing lights, more flavors, and a new name: Scoop Supreme. But his old frame can’t handle all of the changes and he slowly whistles to a stop. In a slightly baffling conclusion, since Spunky’s adults are never present, Scoop and the tot find a new way to be together in the mountains. Keeler’s paintings have a gloppy abandon that suits their sticky subject.

A market-driven economy lesson, with friendship squeezed in, too. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5107-0631-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Visual fun overrides textual inadequacies, making this an enjoyable read with an inarguably valuable message.

ELBOW GREASE

If it first you don’t succeed, try getting hit by lightning.

The smallest of his four brothers, Elbow Grease is an electric-powered monster truck with big dreams. Each one of his brothers is tougher, faster, smarter, or braver than he is, but at least he’s got enough “gumption” to spare. That comes in handy when he rushes off to join a Grand Prix in a fit of pique. And while in the end he doesn’t win, he does at least finish thanks to a conveniently placed lightning bolt. That inspires the true winner of the race (Elbow Grease’s hero, Big Wheels McGee) to declare that it’s gumption that’s the true mark of a winner. With his emphasis on trying new things, even if you fail, Cena, a professional wrestler and celebrity, earnestly offers a legitimately inspiring message even if his writing borders on the pedestrian. Fortunately McWilliam’s illustrations give a great deal of life, emotion, action, and mud splatters to the middling text. Humans are few and far between, but the trucks’ keeper, Mel the mechanic, is pictured as a brown-skinned woman with glasses.

Visual fun overrides textual inadequacies, making this an enjoyable read with an inarguably valuable message. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7350-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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Though it’s on the long side, Moore’s tale combines traditional themes and spritely illustrations to create a satisfying,...

CAPTAIN CAT

This quirky tale has something for everyone: an adventurous sea captain, a mysterious island, mounds of treasure, a spunky princess, handsome sailors, charming cats (who are also ruthless hunters), and a clever, if not entirely intentional, comeuppance for a band of greedy merchants.

The lengthy text covers a fair amount of time and distance in a conversational tone that suits the story’s origin as an “old Italian tale” (according to the flyleaf; there is no other source note). Captain Cat’s business sense, according to his colleagues, is sadly lacking, as he cheerfully trades goods of great value for his feline friends. Moreover, his urge to explore eventually sends him off in the opposite direction from the traditional trade routes. Ironically, he winds up on an island where his cats are more precious than gold—and where they are more than happy to settle down. Captain Cat, on the other hand, continues to sail, first back to his home port, where his wealth dazzles the other merchants, and then on across the open seas. Moore’s mixed-media illustrations have the appearance of pen and ink and watercolor. A preponderance of mostly muted blues, greens, browns and tans create convincing watery vistas and rocky beaches as well as a plethora of cheerful-looking, big-eyed cats.

Though it’s on the long side, Moore’s tale combines traditional themes and spritely illustrations to create a satisfying, offbeat adventure. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6151-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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