Who cares? The equation of trucks + bedtime book = best-seller, even if it does set feminism back a few decades.

GOODNIGHT, GOODNIGHT CONSTRUCTION SITE

From the Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site series

A group of construction vehicles put themselves to bed.

Rhyming couplets set the scene (“The sun has set, the work is done; / It’s time for trucks to end their fun”) and then describe their bedtime routines, truck by truck. The crane sets one last beam before settling in, a star-shaped nightlight suspended from his lowered mast and a teddy bear clutched in his stabilizing arms. The cement mixer is hosed down before giving into slumber beneath a much-too-small polka-dot blanket. The dump truck deposits one last load before conking out next to heaps of rubble. As depicted by Lichtenheld, the trucks all have googly windshield eyes and grins that more or less correspond to grilles. They look a lot like Disney Pixar’s Cars, but there are only so many ways to anthropomorphize a truck. He exerts his artistry in other ways; the dump truck’s snores, depicted as a rising stream of ever larger Z’s, float into the night, becoming part of the steel framework of the building under construction. Rinker’s verse does not always scan well, but it is rhythmic enough to carry readers along. It is a real shame that not a single one of these muscular vehicles is female; this employer is clearly not interested in equal opportunity.

Who cares? The equation of trucks + bedtime book = best-seller, even if it does set feminism back a few decades. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: May 4, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8118-7782-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2014

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An engaging story arguing for the marriage of technology with creativity and play.

DOLL-E 1.0

A young girl receives a puzzling gift.

Young Charlotte has always been the most tech-savvy member of her family, helping her mother with a tablet and her father with the smart TV. After Charlotte’s parents observe a news report cautioning against letting kids get “too techy,” the couple presents Charlotte with a doll. The doll doesn’t move or think—it simply sits and utters the word “Ma-ma.” Charlotte reasons that for a doll to talk it must have a power supply, and with a few modifications and a little imagination, Charlotte’s doll becomes Doll-E 1.0. The STEM-friendly narrative is brought to life with charming pencil-and-watercolor illustrations, edited in Photoshop. The scratchy lines are reminiscent of the pictures children like Charlotte sketch at their drawing boards, and the dynamic compositions burst with energy. Charlotte is an engaging character, expressive and thoughtful in equal measure. Charlotte’s doll is adorably rendered, looking mostly like any other common doll but just unique enough that little ones may want one of their own. Charlotte and her family present white; little dog Bluetooth is a scruffy, white terrier.

An engaging story arguing for the marriage of technology with creativity and play. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-51031-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson.

MAX AND THE TAG-ALONG MOON

After a visit, an African-American grandfather and grandson say farewell under a big yellow moon. Granpa tells Max it is the same moon he will see when he gets home.

This gently told story uses Max’s fascination with the moon’s ability to “tag along” where his family’s car goes as a metaphor for his grandfather’s constant love. Separating the two relatives is “a swervy-curvy road” that travels up and down hills, over a bridge, “past a field of sleeping cows,” around a small town and through a tunnel. No matter where Max travels, the moon is always there, waiting around a curve or peeking through the trees. But then “[d]ark clouds tumbled across the night sky.” No stars, no nightingales and no moon are to be found. Max frets: “Granpa said it would always shine for me.” Disappointed, Max climbs into bed, missing both the moon and his granpa. In a dramatic double-page spread, readers see Max’s excitement as “[s]lowly, very slowly, Max’s bedroom began to fill with a soft yellow glow.” Cooper uses his signature style to illustrate both the landscape—sometimes viewed from the car windows or reflected in the vehicle’s mirror—and the expressive faces of his characters. Coupled with the story’s lyrical text, this is a lovely mood piece.

A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-23342-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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