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

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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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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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