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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


Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014


From the Little Blue Truck series

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come.

Little Blue Truck and his pal Toad meet friends old and new on a springtime drive through the country.

This lift-the-flap, interactive entry in the popular Little Blue Truck series lacks the narrative strength and valuable life lessons of the original Little Blue Truck (2008) and its sequel, Little Blue Truck Leads the Way (2009). Both of those books, published for preschoolers rather than toddlers, featured rich storylines, dramatic, kinetic illustrations, and simple but valuable life lessons—the folly of taking oneself too seriously, the importance of friends, and the virtue of taking turns, for example. At about half the length and with half as much text as the aforementioned titles, this volume is a much quicker read. Less a story than a vernal celebration, the book depicts a bucolic drive through farmland and encounters with various animals and their young along the way. Beautifully rendered two-page tableaux teem with butterflies, blossoms, and vibrant pastel, springtime colors. Little Blue greets a sheep standing in the door of a barn: “Yoo-hoo, Sheep! / Beep-beep! / What’s new?” Folding back the durable, card-stock flap reveals the barn’s interior and an adorable set of twin lambs. Encounters with a duck and nine ducklings, a cow with a calf, a pig with 10 (!) piglets, a family of bunnies, and a chicken with a freshly hatched chick provide ample opportunity for counting and vocabulary work.

Uncomplicated fun that sets readers up for the earlier, more-complicated books to come. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-93809-0

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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