At Whizzy Wheels Academy, Daisy the digger learns that everyone has their own role to play and that she’s capable of things she’d never dreamed she could do.
There’s a lot to like in this book for heavy-equipment–loving toddlers. First, it’s durable—close to indestructible, even. Second, author Bently employs a broader vocabulary and more complex sentence structures than in many similarly themed offerings, making it a nice bridge to traditional picture books. It’s also nice to see a book for truck-loving tots that skews away from gender stereotyping of its characters and audience; here, there are no fewer than three named heavy-equipment characters with traditionally female names: Daisy, Clare the crane, and Tess the tractor. (Daisy and Clare both explicitly use feminine pronouns.) The story effectively deals with themes of handling disappointment, feeling left out, overcoming a lack of confidence, and recognizing that people (and trucks) have different strengths and weaknesses. When academy instructor Rusty announces that the vehicles will be taking a trip off the grounds to practice driving on real roads, Daisy’s excited until she learns that her heavy tracks aren’t built for roads. But when a landslide strands her friends, Daisy finds her heavy treads make her ideal to come to the rescue. Companion title Dylan the Dump Truck publishes simultaneously and introduces both Dylan and Emma the excavator.
A sweet lesson in appreciating who we are rather than focusing on what we are not. (Board book. 2-5)