Old MacDonald Had a Truck by Steve Goetz, illustrated by Eda Kaban (InfoSoup) This clever update to the beloved folk song has a focus on large machinery. The book follows the structure of the original song, filled with E-I-E-I-O’s and then inserts a different type … Continue reading Old MacDonald Had a Truck by Steve Goetz
Bulldozer is very excited as he heads to the construction site one morning. It’s his special day and he wants to invite all of the other bigger trucks to his party. So he asks them to guess what day it is. Digger says that the day is a scooping day and keeps on scooping dirt. Dump Truck says it’s a sifting day. Cement Mixer knows that it’s a stirring day. One after another, the different trucks insist that it’s just a normal day and they are doing what they always do. Bulldozer gets more and more dejected as the other trucks talk to him and is about to leave the construction site entirely when happy whistles start to blow and the trucks reveal their birthday surprise for him.
Fleming charmingly combines two deep loves of small children: trucks and birthdays. She engages just enough with each of the trucks, allowing young vehicle lovers time to enjoy each truck and what they do on a construction site. Children will feel for Bulldozer as his attempts to talk about his party are foiled by each truck. The pacing is well done and leads up to a greatly satisfying ending.
Rohmann’s thick-lined illustrations work particularly well here. His Bulldozer character reads as young and jaunty as he flies over the construction area without touching the ground. The other trucks are solid and dependable. They come off as very friendly but also busy, rather like parents who are distracted but kind. Rohmann presents the birthday reveal on one double page spread that is very joyful and lots of fun. Expect a cheer of joy from your listening audience.
Get this into the hands of toddlers who like trucks and who may be approaching a birthday of their own. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from copy received from Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Supertruck by Stephen Savage
There are many brave and hard-working trucks in the city. There are trucks that help put out fires. There are trucks that tow. There are trucks that fix power lines. And then there is the quiet little garbage truck that just picks up garbage. Then one day a snow storm hits the city. All of the trucks are stranded in the snow and unable to move. All but one little truck, who takes off his glasses and trades in a snowplow. The little garbage truck heads off to save the day!
This very simple picture book has a radiant appeal to it. It combines very cleverly the appeal of trucks and superheroes without it feeling forced at all. With just the right amount of text for toddlers, even the youngest of children will find lots to love here.
A lot of the appeal of this picture book is in the illustrations which are bold and colorful. The boxy trucks are shown against silhouettes of the city, allowing them to really shine. Perhaps the best touch are the large glasses on the garbage truck before he transforms into Supertruck. Fans of Superman will find that little touch completely endearing. And am I the only one who can see a line of toys coming straight out of these illustrations?
Clever, dynamic and heroic, this picture book will please little truck and superhero fans alike. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.
Bang by Leo Timmers
Using only the word “bang” throughout, this nearly-wordless picture book is a humor-filled delight. In a series of car crashes, one after another, the story is told. It all starts with a deer who isn’t paying any attention, since he’s reading this book while driving. Then comes the truck full of chickens driven by a pig. Then a fashionable giraffe in an orange sportster. A hungry alligator with a truck full of tires follows. And more and more. After each car enters the page, there is an enormous bang, and then each new car impacts all of the others in new ways. Colors change, items move from one vehicle to another, and merry chaos reigns.
Timmers fills his wordless book with wonderful details that make lingering on the pages a must. You even start guessing from the introduction of the new elements about what will happen to the other vehicles in line. The final fold-out page with all of the vehicles in a row is great fun to look at and makes for a grand finale.
Timmers’ art is quirky and bright. The vehicles are all completely unique, formatted to fit the bulk of a pig, or the height of a giraffe. The pages are filled with bright colors and lots of action. As each new vehicle comes onto the page, there is wonderful moment before you know what happens. This pacing is perfection and all thanks to the art.
Jolly and very funny, this is a picture book that children who enjoy vehicles or large crashes will adore. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from copy received from Gecko Press.
Night Light by Nicholas Blechman
Count from one to ten in this picture book all about lights at night. The book begins with a black page and just one light shining through from a die cut to the page beyond. Turn the page and you see that one light is a train. Keep turning and you start counting more and more lights, each attached to a different vehicle. Some of the pages have clues so that you can guess what sort of vehicle it is. This is a book perfect for small children to start to count and ideal for children who love trucks, planes and trains.
Blechman keeps his writing very simple. The real draw of the book is the clever use of die cuts to show just the lights before you turn the page. The blackness of the page also adds to the drama and suspense very nicely. The book is printed on heavier pages, making it very friendly for toddler hands.
A simple and engaging book for young truck lovers that is a mix of counting and guessing game. Appropriate for ages 1-3.
Truck Stop by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Melissa Iwai
Every morning the truck stop has to open for business. A boy and his family own the truck stop and get there early in the morning before the sun has come up. The boy squeezes the orange juice while his parents prep the other breakfast foods. Soon the trucks start arriving. The boy knows all of the regulars and his parents know their orders by heart. There is Eighteen-Wheeler who wants all of his tires checked. Milk Tank and Maisie arrive next for a sweet breakfast of coffee and doughnuts. The man with the moving van wants pancakes. But where is Green Gus the old pickup truck? More trucks arrive, but still no one has seen him. It’s not until the little boy gets on the school bus that they figure out what has happened to Gus.
Rockwell tells a story that is a fine mix of family, food and trucks. Children will enjoy seeing how a restaurant runs and also the warmth with which regulars are remembered and served. Still, it is the trucks that will have this book off of the shelves and into little hands. It is good to see more than just a list of different types of trucks and instead have a book that can be read aloud as a story as well. Even better, there is a little mystery at the end about Gus that makes it all the more fun to read.
Iwai’s illustrations are done in cut paper collages. The types of paper add a richness to the images, combining textures from textiles, slick painted papers, and lots of patterns. The result are pictures that are colorful and a pleasure to look at closely.
A solid book, this will be a welcome bedtime addition for any family with a truck-loving child as well as a choice pick for story times. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Viking.
Red Car, Red Bus by Susan Steggall
Turn to the first page of this picture book and you will see people waiting at a bus stop. Another page turn has them aboard the bus and only two words: “Red bus.” The next page has a red car join the red bus and readers will see two people dashing for the bus stop. By the time the bus reaches its next stop, the page is filled not only with a yellow van, yellow car, the red car and the red bus, but the people running for the bus have dropped their teddy bear. As the pages turn, the road gets more crowded with vehicles and it becomes all the more fun to figure out what the story is on the side of the road. The only words in the book describe the colors of the vehicles and name the vehicles themselves, otherwise it is more of a wordless book as the complicated action takes place in pictures only.
Steggall has created a picture book that really plays with the reader. At first, I thought it was going to be a very simple color and vehicle book for toddlers, but it is something much more. The intricate cut paper illustrations tell the story along the roadside, as each page turn moves the reader further down the road. There is a wonderful sense of motion to the entire book. The vehicles appear in patterns with colors and sorts of vehicles.
This is a delight of a read, surprising in its depth and yet fully appropriate for the youngest reader who enjoys cars and trucks. This is one to linger over and discuss, talking about the story that is told wordlessly, perfect for curling up with your special little one. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from library copy.