Though the book is unquestionably well-meaning, it just doesn’t work except as a vocabulary builder.

READ REVIEW

¡VÁMONOS! / LET'S GO!

This bilingual spinoff of “The Wheels on the Bus” features many of the vehicles associated with community helpers.

In addition to the titular (school) bus, readers are introduced to the Spanish-language names for “ambulance,” “fire truck,” “train,” and so on. It works pretty well in English: “The alarm on the fire truck goes woo-ooo-ooo,” etc. Unfortunately, the nearly total lack of meter in the Spanish verses makes them awkward to sing: “La alarma del camión de bomberos hace uuuah uuuah uuuah.” A superfluous bus screech at the beginning and end also detracts from the song’s rhythm. A suspension of disbelief is necessary when the driver drops the children off not at school or even back at their homes, where they were first picked up, but at the park—where the children play at driving the vehicles they have just seen at a carnival. Except for substituting “all through the park” for “all through the town” in the recapitulation of verses near the end, the transition from school-bus ride to carnival rides is too abrupt. The story continues for four additional pages with the song all but forgotten as the children run to buy ice cream. Cepeda’s lively and familiar illustrations are the highlights in this multicultural neighborhood excursion. A musical score and nonphonetic glossary are included.

Though the book is unquestionably well-meaning, it just doesn’t work except as a vocabulary builder. (Bilingual picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3442-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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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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A lovely book that ties the Christmas message of friendship and generosity to the satisfaction of a job well-done. (Picture...

CONSTRUCTION SITE ON CHRISTMAS NIGHT

From the Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site series

A jolly team of trucks rushes to build a firehouse in time for Christmas.

With a big-city skyline in the background, Bulldozer clears the way for Excavator to dig the foundation. Cement Mixer, Dump Truck, and Crane Truck all do their parts for a brand-new fire station. As each ends his day (not one of these anthropomorphized trucks is gendered female, unfortunately), a special gift just for him awaits, with a thank-you card attached from the trucks’ unseen human crew. Rinker tells the story in rhyming couplets set in sans serif type that moves along with the trucks: “An icy wind blows in his face / but Dump Truck revs to keep the pace. / His back is sore, his tires are shot, / but Dump Truck gives it all he’s got….” Emulating Tom Lichtenheld’s style for this companion to the perennial bestseller, Ford’s colored-pencil illustrations in soft, rich tones vary between full double-page spreads and framed insets, shifting focus from each truck’s individual effort to the overall task at hand. The entire story is framed by spreads front and back that show the trucks asleep, ending with the words that are repeated throughout: “Merry Christmas! And…goodnight.” A crescent moon smiles benevolently above all.

A lovely book that ties the Christmas message of friendship and generosity to the satisfaction of a job well-done. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4521-3911-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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