Moving vehicles are not a new theme for alphabet books, but only a few tackle a variety of machines rather than focusing on just one type; this is one of those exceptions.
Uncluttered, graphically flat illustrations make this one appealing. The majority of the letters are used descriptively or associatively rather than beginning names of wheeled vehicles. Given that approach, some letters are logical, such as Aa for axle, Bb for bumper, Gg for garage and grease, and Yy for yellow cab, while others are a stretch. It’s the creative juxtaposition of images across the double-page spreads that create scenes and keep this from needing an oil change. Jj for junkyard and Kk for kaput show a tow truck hauling away a crashed SUV; Pp and Qq for plugged in and quiet demonstrate an electric car undergoing tests; a man in a hot rod is seen chasing an ice-cream truck. Unusual choices are Rr for (lunar) rover, Ss for stagecoach, Uu for underdog, Vv for victory lane, and Ww for winner. For the letter Xx, two dueling excavators form an X with their buckets poised to dig over a marked spot. A natural pairing is Ll for limousine and Mm for motorcade. Olivera depicts humans in a variety of skin tones, adding whimsy with such touches as a bulldog in a bowler hat, a knight in full armor, and the queen all riding in a double-decker London bus.
Start your engines! (Picture book. 4-7)