Truck-hungry children may love this unreservedly, but it will make environmentalists and transportation reformers weep

THE ROAD THAT TRUCKS BUILT

“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)

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9546-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

New readers will be eager to follow such unconventional instructions, and experienced readers will recognize every single...

HOW TO READ A BOOK

A linguistic and visual feast awaits in Alexander and Sweet’s debut collaboration.

If the mechanics of deciphering words on a page is a well-covered topic, the orchestration of finding magic between pages is an art emphasized but unexplained…until now. First things are first: “find a tree—a black tupelo or dawn redwood will do—and plant yourself.” Once settled, take the book in hand and “dig your thumb at the bottom of each juicy section and pop the words out…[then] // Squeeze every morsel of each plump line until the last drop of magic / drips from the infinite sky.” Reading, captured here in both content and form, is hailed as the unassailably individual, creative act it is. The prosody and rhythm and multimodal sensuousness of Alexander’s poetic text is made playfully material in Sweet’s mixed-media collage-and-watercolor illustrations. Not only does the book explain how to read, but it also demonstrates the elegant and emotive chaos awaiting readers in an intricate partnership of text and image. Despite the engaging physicality of gatefolds and almost three-dimensional spreads, readers with lower contrast sensitivity or readers less experienced at differentiating shapes and letters may initially find some of the more complex collage spreads difficult to parse. Children depicted are typically kraft-paper brown.

New readers will be eager to follow such unconventional instructions, and experienced readers will recognize every single step . (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-230781-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more