A gallery of gargantuan delights guaranteed to leave young fans of mountainous machinery panting with pleasure.

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GIANT VEHICLES

Eight real-life big “dogs”—some of which make the monsters of myth and movie look like Chihuahuas.

From a three-engine, 135-car coal train and the world’s biggest container ship to the Soviet-built Typhoon submarine and Mil Mi26 “Whopper Chopper,” these puppies are all designed to carry mammoth payloads over land or sea, through the air or into space. As usual, Biesty renders each with accurate proportions and in detail fine enough that individual workers or passengers can be discerned…though sometimes only as antlike dots. Surrounded by labels and smaller images, each portrait sprawls across a full spread of heavy stock. Revealing cutaways that are either visible or concealed beneath die-cut flaps of diverse shape and size give youngsters a chance to see inside. There is no real sense of relative scale; the Saturn V rocket that requires a 90-degree rotation of the book for readers to fully appreciate it looks downright slender next to the Caterpillar 797F dump truck that dominates the next spread. This quibble aside, there’s plenty to keep kids occupied for quite some time here.

A gallery of gargantuan delights guaranteed to leave young fans of mountainous machinery panting with pleasure. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7404-5

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off.

TINY LITTLE ROCKET

This rocket hopes to take its readers on a birthday blast—but there may or may not be enough fuel.

Once a year, a one-seat rocket shoots out from Earth. Why? To reveal a special congratulatory banner for a once-a-year event. The second-person narration puts readers in the pilot’s seat and, through a (mostly) ballad-stanza rhyme scheme (abcb), sends them on a journey toward the sun, past meteors, and into the Kuiper belt. The final pages include additional information on how birthdays are measured against the Earth’s rotations around the sun. Collingridge aims for the stars with this title, and he mostly succeeds. The rhyme scheme flows smoothly, which will make listeners happy, but the illustrations (possibly a combination of paint with digital enhancements) may leave the viewers feeling a little cold. The pilot is seen only with a 1960s-style fishbowl helmet that completely obscures the face, gender, and race by reflecting the interior of the rocket ship. This may allow readers/listeners to picture themselves in the role, but it also may divest them of any emotional connection to the story. The last pages—the backside of a triple-gatefold spread—label the planets and include Pluto. While Pluto is correctly labeled as a dwarf planet, it’s an unusual choice to include it but not the other dwarfs: Ceres, Eris, etc. The illustration also neglects to include the asteroid belt or any of the solar system’s moons.

A fair choice, but it may need some support to really blast off. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-18949-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: David Fickling/Phoenix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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Creative, comedic, and carrot-loads of fun.

A IS FOR ANOTHER RABBIT

An obsessed narrator creates an alphabet book overrun with rabbits, much to the chagrin of an owl who wants to create a “proper, respectable” alphabet book.

The picture book begins, “A is for A rabbit,” an illustration of a large brown rabbit taking up most of the recto. The owl protagonist—presumably the co-creator of the book—points out that “rabbit” begins with “R.” “Yes, but “a rabbit” starts with A,” says the narrator, before moving on to “B is for bunny,” which, as the owl points out, is just another name for rabbit. Despite the owl’s mounting frustration, the narrator genially narrates several rabbits into existence on almost every single page, rendered with such variety that readers will find their proliferation endlessly amusing. The letter D, for instance, introduces readers to “delightful, dynamic, daredevil RABBITS!” (a herd of biker rabbits), and although the narrator says “E is for Elephant” (which momentarily satisfies the owl), the image depicts several rabbits poorly disguised as an elephant. Much to the owl’s chagrin and, ultimately, exhaustion, the narrator grows more and more creative in their presentation of their favorite animal as the picture book proceeds down a rabbit hole of…well, rabbits! Batsel’s debut picture book for readers already familiar with the English alphabet is funny and highly entertaining. The whimsical narrative and the colorful images make this an excellent elementary-age read-aloud.

Creative, comedic, and carrot-loads of fun. (Picture book. 4-8)/p>)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2950-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A sizable gallery but, overall, a monotonous one.

THE ULTIMATE BOOK OF VEHICLES

FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Fans of trucks, trains, aircraft, and other conveyances large and small will find dozens gathered here, lined up neatly in squads according to function from “Demolition” to “Space Travel.”

Though most of the vehicles are easily identifiable by sight, small labels will clue in readers unfamiliar with specialized monikers like “wheel excavator” or vehicles not found in the United States, such as the colorfully decorated Pakistani bus and a motorized “pooper scooper scooter” from France. Cartoon passengers or other human figures convey a sense of size, and with occasional concessions, the floating, wheeled or winged machines are depicted at least close to relative scale on each spread. But the pleasures of poring over all the transports, earth movers and Earth leavers will pall quickly even for confirmed enthusiasts: So flat and generic are the images that many with similar purposes look like variations on the same shape. Moreover, an (rather skimpy) assortment of jointed arms, sliders, spinners and flaps that lift to provide cutaway views create at best only localized feelings of movement or visual drama. Also, the titular “ultimate” begs the lack of military or (aside from a space shuttle on the final spread) historical vehicles on view.

A sizable gallery but, overall, a monotonous one. (Pop-up informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-2-8480-1942-0

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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