Perfect for the very young truck fanatic.

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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A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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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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