Kids learn basic Cree words and sentences from a gentle school bus driver in this children’s picture book.

Nimoshom, whose name means “my grandfather” in Cree, is a kindly man with tan skin, rosy cheeks, a white mustache, and a loving smile. Every day he says “Tansi” (“Hello”) to the children who board his school bus, who also have tan skin and rosy cheeks. Sometimes, he says “Mino kisikaw,” which means, “It is a good day.” If the kids get rowdy, he says “Api” (“Sit down”). The children bring him Christmas presents, and Nimoshom thanks them by saying “Ekosani.” Like some Cree people, Nimoshom doesn’t say goodbye; instead, he says “Ekosi,” meaning “OK,” “That’s it,” or “Amen.” Thomas’ simple language lesson will be a pleasant addition to storytimes about indigenous cultures. Although it includes no pronunciation guide, there’s a helpful glossary with 13 words and sentences. Hibbard’s lovely pastel color illustrations are simple in style; for example, one brown fox (or dog) looks like it could have been drawn by a child. The placement and colors of rural animals complement the overall tone. On a “good” day, for example, a bright-red fox runs playfully with the bus; when the bus is late, a dark gray wolf (or dog) chases it. A simple but endearing glimpse of Cree language and life.

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55379-708-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HighWater Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2017

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.


Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Sutton’s latest is a truck-lover’s dream come true—repetition, rhyme and onomatopoeia form the text, while construction trucks vie for readers’ attention in the illustrations. The result is a wonderfully noisy look at how roads are built. From a line on a map and an empty field to the finished road complete with lights and signs, youngsters will be able to follow all the steps, learning all the vehicles that take part in the process (a final page introduces readers to each one). “Pack the ground. Pack the ground. / Roll one way, then back. / Make the roadbed good and hard. / Clang! Crunch! Crack!” Lovelock’s debut certainly makes an impression. His pigmented ink illustrations keep the focus on the machines and the individual parts they play in building the road. The level of detail matches the text’s intended audience—enough to satisfy, not so much as to overwhelm. Pave the way to this book’s shelf; perfect for read-alouds, it will be a hit whether shared with a group or one-on-one. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-7636-3912-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2008

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