For some children, however, the real excitement will come after they’ve reached the last page and their grown-up asks, “What...

READ REVIEW

WHAT CAN A CRANE PICK UP?

This is the sort of book readers co-write along with the author.

Children already know how to play this game. If they like construction vehicles, then any time they look at a large object, they’re probably thinking, “Could a crane pick that up?” A truck, of course, and another truck and yet another truck, and even "a railroad car, if it gets stuck." On Dotlich goes, upping the ante, until she asks, “Can a crane pick up a crane?” By the end of the book, the crane has lifted a crane, a polar bear and a submarine. Most readers will be impressed, but children who play the game year-round will wonder why it didn’t pick up a brachiosaurus or a pirate ship or a wagon full of elephants. But items like “an ancient mummy’s case” and “boxes and boxes of underwear” will satisfy them. Sometimes an entire page is covered with objects, as though the artist couldn’t stop drawing. Even the words of the story are scattered all over the page. This can make the rhythmic, pleasingly rhymed text fragmented and difficult to follow, but most of the time, it gives the story an energy that’s hard to resist. 

For some children, however, the real excitement will come after they’ve reached the last page and their grown-up asks, “What else can a crane pick up?” Children will ask to read this book many times, but the words may change every time they read it. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86726-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S HALLOWEEN

A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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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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