Perfect for the very young truck fanatic.

READ REVIEW

THE DIGGERS ARE COMING!

All kinds of bruising vehicles have a part in creating a new housing development in this muscular import from the U.K.

First comes the big red wrecker, its ball swinging to bash the old buildings to the ground. Then the planners come, to measure and mark, followed by the bulldozers, who “shave and shift and shove all day.” The type goes across the page in various directions and routes, sometimes bold and even bolder, from tiny to enormous. Diggers and tippers (dump trucks) are next, to finish the job of preparing the ground, then cement mixers, to lay the concrete foundation. Then sturdy trucks show up with cement blocks and other building materials. Busy builders go to work with hard hats and hammers and hods, and the buildings start to rise. Some materials need a crane. Steamrollers help smooth out all the bumpy bits. Before long, the trucks coming to the site are moving vans, full of furniture and the other belongings of all the families that will be moving into these immaculate new homes. Steggall’s use of color makes stars of her machines; the buildings and ground, with scant greenery, are in earth tones, while gleaming bright vehicles—in orange and bold yellow and blue—really pop in her textured collages. Her text has lots of phonic and onomatopoeic crunch as well.

Perfect for the very young truck fanatic.    (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-84780-288-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Visual fun overrides textual inadequacies, making this an enjoyable read with an inarguably valuable message.

ELBOW GREASE

If it first you don’t succeed, try getting hit by lightning.

The smallest of his four brothers, Elbow Grease is an electric-powered monster truck with big dreams. Each one of his brothers is tougher, faster, smarter, or braver than he is, but at least he’s got enough “gumption” to spare. That comes in handy when he rushes off to join a Grand Prix in a fit of pique. And while in the end he doesn’t win, he does at least finish thanks to a conveniently placed lightning bolt. That inspires the true winner of the race (Elbow Grease’s hero, Big Wheels McGee) to declare that it’s gumption that’s the true mark of a winner. With his emphasis on trying new things, even if you fail, Cena, a professional wrestler and celebrity, earnestly offers a legitimately inspiring message even if his writing borders on the pedestrian. Fortunately McWilliam’s illustrations give a great deal of life, emotion, action, and mud splatters to the middling text. Humans are few and far between, but the trucks’ keeper, Mel the mechanic, is pictured as a brown-skinned woman with glasses.

Visual fun overrides textual inadequacies, making this an enjoyable read with an inarguably valuable message. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7350-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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Slight and contrived.

LITTLE TACO TRUCK

A little orange food truck parks in the same place every day, bringing tacos to hungry construction workers—till one morning, a falafel truck takes his spot.

Miss Falafel then brings by more of her friends, crowding out the taco truck. Little Taco Truck whines and cries, but after four days of being shut out by the bigger trucks, he finally takes the initiative. He spends the night in his former parking space, defending his territory when the other trucks arrive. The rest immediately apologize, and after some creative maneuvering, everyone fits—even the newly arrived noodle truck. Valentine’s naïve call for cooperation glosses over the very real problem of urban gentrification represented by the flood of bigger and better-equipped trucks taking over the neighborhood. When the taco truck is the only game in town, the food line consists of hard-hatted construction workers. Then, as falafel, arepa, gelato, hot dog, and gumbo trucks set up shop, professionals and hipsters start showing up. (All the customers are depicted as animals.) The author also inadvertently equates tacos with a lack of sophistication. “ ‘Hola, Miss Fal…Fal…’ Little Taco Truck tried to sound out the words on the side of the other truck.” Sadly, the truck sells Americanized crisp-shelled tacos. Even the glossary ignores the culinary versatility and cultural authenticity of the soft taco with this oversimplified and inaccurate definition: “A crispy Mexican corn pancake folded or rolled around a filling of meat, beans, and cheese.”

Slight and contrived. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6585-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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