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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2004

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Smoother rides are out there.

BUSY STREET

From the Beginner Books series

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. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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A tiny tug…on the heartstrings.

SCOUT THE MIGHTY TUGBOAT

A perky little tug puts her brawn, and brains, to good use.

“[C]hugging through the waves on the bright blue water,” a little tugboat named Scout starts her day. Whether it’s a container ship, a cruise ship, or a freighter, she’s always there to help. But what’s this? A massive oil tanker’s engine has failed, and it’s headed toward the rocks. Scout tries to help, but the scope of the endeavor overwhelms her. Eschewing the go-it-alone attitude of the Little Engine That Could, Scout realizes that this is one job too big. She calls upon her fellow tugs to lend a hand, showing that sometimes it takes a crew. No doubt young fans of things that float will find much to enjoy, as this cozy maritime tale offers just enough mild thrills to excite without alarm. Adult readers will probably feel even more keenly than their children the danger posed by the drifting oil tanker (particularly when they notice the dolphins, the pelican, the gull, the fish, and even the rather small whale that also inhabit the harbor). They may also note with pleasure that the book’s gendered ships are always identified as female, in keeping with nautical convention. The unchallenging cartoon art featuring anthropomorphic boats pleases without surprising.

A tiny tug…on the heartstrings. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8075-7264-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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