Old Blue Pickup Truck

The Old Blue Pickup Truck by Candice F. Ransom, illustrated by Jenny Mattheson

This charmer of a picture book takes a day of errands and transforms it into a wonderful outing filled with surprises.  Everything centers around the pickup truck and its ability to carry everything they need.  It changes from a garden to a toolshed to a barnyard all in the course of their travels.  Children will see their own errands in a different way after this book and will be eager to see what the truck will be filled with next.

Ransom has created prose that is simple but sings.  She uses tiny touches to make the book come to life.  At the nursery, readers learn that inside “it smelled like raindrops.”  At the hardware store, the little girl fills a bag with nails of each size and shape.  Mattheson’s illustrations have an old-fashioned feel right at home with the subject.  The round-faced characters are friendly and they are drawn with a folksy style.  The bright colors make the book more modern than it could otherwise have been.  A wonderful combination.

This quiet book is perfect for slow Saturday mornings when you aren’t rushing on your own errands.  It is also a great way to spend bedtime reading, as you travel around the lush green pictures in an unhurried way.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

Toot Toot Zoom!

Toot Toot Zoom! by Phyllis Root and Matthew Cordell.

Pierre, the fox, lived all alone near a tall mountain.  He had no friends at all.  Realizing that there may be friends to be made on the other side of the mountain, he hopped in his car and heads to the other side.  Heading up the mountain, he meets Goat, who asks for a ride in his car.  Pierre then meets Sheep who also wants to find a friend, so he offers her a spot in the car.  Bear then joins them in their search for a friend too.  On their way down the windy hill, it may take a bit of shaking up to get them to notice what they have already found.

Root has created a story that makes a great read aloud.  With not only the refrain of Toot, Toot, Zoom! but also the delight of the screeching breaks when Pierre meets each new animal, this book begs to be read aloud with great flourish.  Cordell has created illustrations with lovely details that will work well with a group.  Make sure you linger slightly on the last page so that everyone can see what happened to the little red car in the end.

Add this to both your car story times and your friend ones.  Guaranteed to Zoom right off your shelves and into waiting toddler and preschool hands.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from library copy.