THIS TRUCK

A visual tour of working machines, the text doesn’t name the trucks, but rather delivers hints such as the vehicles job or size. “This truck is small” appears below a painting of a little boy and his toy. “This truck travels all alone” accompanies a scene of an 18-wheeler passing over a winding road through a desolate, but lovely desert landscape. The captivating paintings are laudable in their intricacy and almost haunting in their shades of blue and burnt orange. The illustrations portray both modern and antique trucks as well as the gigantic, utilitarian, and bizarre; don’t miss the large, flat vehicle that transports rockets. In contrast to the details of the trucks, the backdrops and cityscapes are somewhat spare, unpeopled, and ever-so-slightly discomfiting in their loneliness. Still, an avid fan of trucks and Collicutt’s other works (This Train, This Plane) will have much here to happily pore over. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 4, 2004

ISBN: 0-374-37496-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2004

BUSY STREET

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

HERE COME THE HELPERS

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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