“This is the traffic that’s moving too slow. / Cars and buses have nowhere to go. / What is the answer? I’m guessing you know.”
Anyone who guessed light rail, carpool incentives, congestion pricing, or bike lanes would be sadly mistaken. Nope: “The trucks need to build a new road!” And to the rhythm of “The House That Jack Built,” they do. “This is the SCRAPER whose sharp metal blade / forges a new path through forest and glade / to make way for the road that trucks built.” Children who have a sense of verb tense may wonder why it’s “built” instead of “build,” but sufficiently truck-inclined tots will probably overlook this and focus on the grinning road-building machines that smooth the roadbed, spread and then flatten the asphalt (“all bubbly and black”), and paint the lines. All the vehicles have headlight eyes and smiles and are presumably sentient, but a couple of hard hat–topped birds supervise. The final spread depicts the new four-lane road lined with tulips, the smiling construction trucks arrayed on either side. Although the traffic is not yet bumper-to-bumper, there are enough vehicles on it to make readers wonder how long it will be before the next “forest and glade” are destroyed. An illustrated key to the trucks concludes the book.
Truck-hungry children may love this unreservedly, but it will make environmentalists and transportation reformers weep. (Picture book. 4-7)