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

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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

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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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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Engines won’t be the only thing roaring their approval when this book hits storytime.

ELBOW GREASE VS. MOTOZILLA

Who needs sanity when you’ve got family?

The title character of Elbow Grease (2018) and his family of Demolition Derby trucks return to face an all-new competitor. Once again, ’Bo is feeling inadequate next to his fan-favorite brothers. Despite Mel the Mechanic’s encouragement—he’s “the best at getting better”—he wants to be noticed. But instead, he notices someone unavoidable. Motozilla, the monster machine that turns trucks “into crunch sandwiches,” is currently undefeated. Trouble is, you’d need a truck with an array of skills to take him down. Thinking fast, ’Bo makes the wild and somewhat improbable suggestion that he and his brothers join together to form a single supertruck. Will it be enough to take down this bully? Quips, jests, and teamwork are the name of the game as pro wrestler Cena improves on his writing in this second outing, which demonstrates that individual glory falls in the face of concentrated cooperation. Rollicking, radical art portrays the battle in all its gritty glory, mud and twisted metal galore. Human crowds show a diverse range of races and genders, and the trucks’ keeper, Mel, has light-brown skin and wears glasses.

Engines won’t be the only thing roaring their approval when this book hits storytime. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7353-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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