Compact in length but broad of scope, an eye-opening gander at a brand-new wonder of the world.

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CROSSING THE GOTTHARD

THE LONGEST TUNNEL IN THE WORLD

With help from, appropriately, a mountain goat, Rogenmoser chronicles the succession of engineering feats that have made possible travel and trade over a rugged Alpine pass through the centuries.

Though marred by some unintuitively placed art and a modern frame story too sketchy to make sense to nonlocal readers, her account of this truly long-term infrastructure project offers historical as well as geological cross sections. The author begins with a legend involving the Devil, a goat, and a bridge over the treacherous Schöllenen Gorge. She then goes on to describe and illustrate a succession of bridges, tunnels, and roadways built in the area from the early 13th century, finishing with the titular Gotthard Base Tunnel scheduled to open in mid-2016. Her soft-focus colored-pencil drawings cover each spread with a concatenation of structures and construction crews, cutaway glimpses of tunnels being drilled, antique coaches and modern automobiles, freight and passenger trains, livestock, hostelries, trade goods, and travelers from diverse eras. Except on one spread where a picture of automobiles being transported by rail interrupts sequential views of the first (or perhaps an early) car to try the steep pass, the mix remains coherent thanks to plenty of explanatory captions, comments, and labels.

Compact in length but broad of scope, an eye-opening gander at a brand-new wonder of the world. (maps, timeline) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4257-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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A deeply felt but not overwrought telling of a story that will be new to most young readers.

SEVEN AND A HALF TONS OF STEEL

A reverent account of the creation of a seagoing 9/11 memorial fashioned by incorporating part of one of the fallen towers into the hull of a Navy ship.

Following a wordless, powerful sequence in which a seemingly ordinary jet flies peacefully through a cloudless sky and then directly into a tower, Nolan opens by noting that there is “something different, something special” about the seemingly ordinary USS New York. In the tragedy’s aftermath, she explains, a steel beam was pulled from the wreckage and sent to a foundry in Louisiana. There, workers melted it down, recast and shaped it, and sent it to New Orleans, where, notwithstanding the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina, it was incorporated into the bow of a new ship of war. Gonzalez echoes the author’s somber, serious tone with dark scenes of ground zero, workers with shadowed faces, and views of the ship from low angles to accentuate its monumental bulk. Though Nolan goes light on names and dates, she adds a significant bit of background to the overall story of 9/11 and its enduring effects. Backmatter includes a cutaway diagram and some additional facts.

A deeply felt but not overwrought telling of a story that will be new to most young readers. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-56145-912-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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A picture-book favorite despite minor flaws? That’s a 10-4, good buddy.

TEENY TINY TRUCKS

In McCanna and Frawley’s cheery picture-book debut, miniscule vehicles drive into supersized action.

Accompanied by a bouncy rhyme, several brightly colored trucks rumble through the garden: the lead red-and-blue truck, the more feminine purple truck and the gridlock-loathing aqua truck. Though the color palette and cartoon appearance of the nameless vehicles may seem like a carbon copy of Disney’s Cars (2006), illustrator Frawley has included humorous details for each truck, giving them life beyond their big-screen predecessors. For instance, the red-and-blue truck has jaunty eyebrows created from roof lights, the purple truck’s short bursts of steam look like daisies, and the aqua truck’s expressive eyebrows are actually wiper blades. The illustrations help tell a hilarious story, most notably of a traffic jam featuring a frog, slug and worm who are clearly not amused by the crowded garden path. McCanna similarly handles the text well. The rhythmic pattern is clear, most of the rhyme is spot-on—“Teeny tiny tires. With teeny tiny treads. / Leaving teeny tiny trails between the flower beds”—and the story begs to be read aloud to a group. Typical trucker talk is included in the dialogue—“Breaker breaker, Buddy!” “What’s your twenty, Friend?”—and the lingo is explained in a short glossary at the end of the story. Though the premise is amusing, the proportion of the trucks in relation to their surroundings can be a bit inconsistent. Most images depict the trucks, which are “smaller than a dime,” as being only marginally bigger than ants and bees, yet other images portray the trucks as being much larger—almost half as long as a box of animal crackers. Nevertheless, this delightful story will charm truck-loving children.

A picture-book favorite despite minor flaws? That’s a 10-4, good buddy.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0989668811

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Bahalia Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2013

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