SNOWY RACE

A young child rides along in the snowplow to complete a very special errand.

Chronicling the breathless moment when a child will “finally get to help!” and be included in the adult world of work, a child protagonist (with car seat!) loads into Dad’s oversized plow truck to zoom off through a snowstorm. Conveyed in expressive couplets, the well-paced rhymes admirably evoke a sense of urgency about their trip and vividly paint a scene of the worsening wintry weather: “Frosty crystals chase and spin. / Snowplow shifts and tunnels in.” When the pair finally reaches their destination, readers see what made this particular journey so important—it’s Mom waiting for them at the train station! Swift, impressionistic sketches filled with soft pastel-hued washes create pastoral snowy scenes that contrast with the warmer, more saturated domestic scenes and with the thick-lined, cherry-red snowplow. Long, layered smears of white create a satisfying illusion of a blizzard, and Davenier utilizes various interesting perspectives, such as the view into the snowy woods from behind the windshield. Gender is handled refreshingly here, with Dad capably handling child care and chores, and while the flap copy refers to the child as female, the long-haired child appears in neutral primary colors, and bedroom decor includes trucks and elephants, with nary a pink toy in sight. All three family members have pale skin, Dad with brown hair and Mom and child with straight, black hair.

A winning winter race. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4141-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Preachy and predictable.

RUBYLICIOUS

From the Pinkalicious series

Pinkalicious is excited to add the 100th rock to her rock collection.

Her brother, Peter, is not impressed. He thinks the rock looks dirty and that it isn’t special at all. When the siblings try to rub the rock clean, though, something wonderful happens: A magical figure emerges in a cloud of red smoke. Rather than ask her name, Pinkalicious and Peter tell her they will call her Rocky. Rocky accepts the new name and nervously says that she can grant the children a wish. But every time the sister and brother make a wish, Rocky initially grants it and then talks them out of it. When Peter and Pinkalicious wish for a gigantic mountain of sweets, for instance, a timorous Rocky shows them how eating so much sugar harms their bodies. When the children wish that they could fly, Rocky shows them how dangerous flying can be. When they wish to live in a castle, Rocky gives them a palace that is too large and cold to be any fun. In the end, Pinkalicious and Peter decide that the best wish they can make isn’t for themselves but for Rocky—a decision that leads to even more magical results. This latest series installment underwhelms. In addition to the arbitrary plot and wooden dialogue, Pinkalicious and Peter come across as maddeningly entitled. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Preachy and predictable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-305521-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Extremely simple and rather sweet.

BULLDOZER'S CHRISTMAS DIG

From the Bulldozer series

Bulldozer is worried about what to give his friends for Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, Dump Truck is carrying, Digger Truck is stringing, and Crane Truck is lifting—all in service of decorating for Christmas. But Bulldozer is on the side, surrounded by cats, worrying. He has not a single gift for his friends. What can he do? He sees a tire half buried in the snow and wonders what other treasures might be there. He starts to dig, and he hits something…but it turns out to be junk. He keeps on digging and finds something else: “more junk.” He keeps digging and digging. The piles grow larger, the sky gets darker, and Bulldozer’s hope fades. But then he thinks he sees something through the snow. He pokes the pile of junk this way and that. He adds bits and pieces. As his friends call out to him that it’s quitting time, Bulldozer puts last touches on his gift. He moves aside to reveal his creation to his friends, and all are pleased with the gift. The little yellow Bulldozer with his entourage of animal friends is a likable character whose plight children will relate to and whose noncommercial solution is a model for creative youngsters to take as inspiration. Best for wrapping a message of giving within a truck-loving package full of sound effects. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Extremely simple and rather sweet. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3820-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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