Vehicle-crazed children will surely love their favorite tales better with a little grease and lots of burning rubber.

LITTLE RED'S RIDING 'HOOD

A revved-up and souped-up version of the classic tale for vehicle lovers.

Little Red, a bright red scooter, loves his neighborhood, a modern-looking, Jetsons-meets-Cars–ish place filled with factories and stores catering to cars and trucks: Wanda’s Windshields, Deals on Wheels, Turbo Tom’s Tune-Up. But he doesn’t love Tank, a mean assault vehicle. But that is just whom he encounters when his mother sends him with some tune-up goodies for his run-down granny, a purple golf cart. Tank scoffs at the quality of Little Red’s offerings, sending him to Zip’s Auto Bonanza for better parts. Although Little Red’s caution lights go off, he does want the best for his granny. Tank, meanwhile, prepares for a “sweet scooter dessert.” But Little Red wasn’t born yesterday, and he senses something’s “out of alignment” at Granny’s. In the end, his maneuverability and knowledge of his ’hood turn out to be his best assets. Gall’s digital artwork is filled with bold colors and fine-lined textures. He cleverly uses the vehicles’ parts to make their faces, right down to Granny’s pearl earrings—her side mirrors. Little Red’s brilliant color nicely stands out against the blues, greens and silvers of the ’hood and the browns of the forest. And Tank is menacingly evil with his canine teeth protruding from his grille.

Vehicle-crazed children will surely love their favorite tales better with a little grease and lots of burning rubber. (Fractured fairy tale. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-60969-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems.

DIGGER, DOZER, DUMPER

Rhyming poems introduce children to anthropomorphized trucks of all sorts, as well as the jobs that they do.

Adorable multiethnic children are the drivers of these 16 trucks—from construction equipment to city trucks, rescue vehicles and a semi—easily standing in for readers, a point made very clear on the final spread. Varying rhyme schemes and poem lengths help keep readers’ attention. For the most part, the rhymes and rhythms work, as in this, from “Cement Mixer”: “No time to wait; / he can’t sit still. / He has to beg your pardon. / For if he dawdles on the way, / his slushy load will harden.” Slonim’s trucks each sport an expressive pair of eyes, but the anthropomorphism stops there, at least in the pictures—Vestergaard sometimes takes it too far, as in “Bulldozer”: “He’s not a bully, either, / although he’s big and tough. / He waits his turn, plays well with friends, / and pushes just enough.” A few trucks’ jobs get short shrift, to mixed effect: “Skid-Steer Loader” focuses on how this truck moves without the typical steering wheel, but “Semi” runs with a royalty analogy and fails to truly impart any knowledge. The acrylic-and-charcoal artwork, set against white backgrounds, keeps the focus on the trucks and the jobs they are doing.

While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5078-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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