A book that will encourage even the youngest of fans to keep on truckin’.

Comfort and care take a momentary hiatus as premier bibliotherapist Parr tackles a whole new world of vehicular options.

Parr opts for standard preschool fare with his pretty paean to cool trucks and cars (but mostly trucks) everywhere. His signature style, combining bright, peppy colors and thick black lines, is an apt fit for the goofy array of at least semisentient trucks on display. Readers are repeatedly informed what it is that cars and trucks “LOVE” (“to be on the road,” “to be clean,” “to help people,” and “to say good night”). Seemingly unwilling to abandon his sense of responsibility for the well-being of the world entirely, Parr includes a note at the end that encourages readers to use buses or bikes too as well as an oddly adult list of nine tips for safe driving. In addition to Parr’s customarily offbeat color scheme, there’s a bit of an edge to this outing, making it an oddly refreshing read. Whether it’s the distinctly pointy teeth on the monster and ski-patrol trucks, the pizza truck that advertises itself as “Home of the Stinky Pot Pie” (its proprietor is a skunk), or the free-flying tighty whities and other undies on the top of a laundry truck, there’s much here to amuse both younger and older vehicle fans.

A book that will encourage even the youngest of fans to keep on truckin’. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-50662-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018


The lack of real excitement will make these helpers fade from memory like sirens on a distant road.

Part emergency adventure, part reassurance that help is on the way—youngsters fascinated by vehicles with sirens will be attracted to this board book.

Straightforward, declarative text and fanciful, somewhat futuristic pictures describe “a big beautiful world, filled with awesome adventures.” The second spread previews the helpers and their vehicles with profile views of six types of vehicles against a clean white background. The final spread shows front views of the same six rescue vehicles. In between, spreads focus on three different emergencies. In a busy spread headlined “Uh-oh, an accident,” readers see a police car, an ambulance, and a tow truck, while a police helicopter hovers overhead. “Uh-oh, a storm!” shows the water-based versions of emergency vehicles against a rain-gray background. “Uh-oh, a fire!” focuses on firefighters, with police and EMTs playing supporting roles. All the vehicles are staffed by smiling animal characters reminiscent of Richard Scarry’s Busytown creatures but without the whimsy of those classics. The final text proclaims that “helpers…are the ones who save the world.” The wordy text and detailed pictures make this board book most suited for older toddlers intrigued by emergency vehicles, but the placid delivery is out of sync with the notion that the depicted world is in peril.

The lack of real excitement will make these helpers fade from memory like sirens on a distant road. (Board book. 3-4)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0599-8

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018


From the Beginner Books series

Smoother rides are out there.

Mommy and Bonnie—two anthropomorphic rodents—go for a joyride and notice a variety of conveyances around their busy town.

The pair encounter 22 types of vocational vehicles as they pass various sites, including a fire engine leaving a firehouse, a school bus approaching a school, and a tractor trailer delivering goods to a supermarket. Narrated in rhyming quatrains, the book describes the jobs that each wheeled machine does. The text uses simple vocabulary and sentences, with sight words aplenty. Some of the rhymes don't scan as well as others, and the description of the mail truck’s role ("A mail truck brings / letters and cards / to mailboxes / in people's yards) ignores millions of readers living in yardless dwellings. The colorful digitally illustrated spreads are crowded with animal characters of every type hustling and bustling about. Although the art is busy, observant viewers may find humor in details such as a fragile item falling out of a moving truck, a line of ducks holding up traffic, and a squirrel’s spilled ice cream. For younger children enthralled by vehicles, Sally Sutton’s Roadwork (2011) and Elizabeth Verdick’s Small Walt series provide superior text and art and kinder humor. Children who have little interest in cars, trucks, and construction equipment may find this offering a yawner. Despite being advertised as a beginner book, neither text nor art recommend this as an engaging choice for children starting to read independently. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Smoother rides are out there. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-37725-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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