An inventive and charming bedtime story.

THE NICE DREAM TRUCK

It’s time to sleep; it’s time to dream.

When it’s time for bed, get ready for a visit from the Nice Dream Truck, bringing a nearly endless supply of possible dreams guaranteed to open the mind to wonders. Ferry employs lilting verse in second person to encourage little dreamers to choose their nighttime visions. They might be big dreams or small, funny or a bit scary—nothing is impossible. Perhaps there are puppies, princesses, dragons, whales, birthdays, magic, or music. You can be an astronaut or a rock star, a firefighter or a doctor. The use of the word nice in relation to these dreams does not match the enthusiasm and excitement of the descriptions, which are more fantastic than that prosaic word conveys. Barrager’s bright, busy illustrations carry out the visions with joyful delight in dreamscapes that float and soar. The title vehicle is decked out as an ice cream truck, replete with a giant strawberry cone on the top, and driven by a brown-skinned “girl with stars in her eyes” and purple pigtails who is ready to serve up your dream of choice. The ice cream metaphor is carried throughout the text and illustrations, comparing choices of scoops and toppings to selecting the dreams. The cast of dreaming children is diverse in race and gender, and they are completely comfortable with one another. It is soothing, uplifting, and definitely upbeat but perhaps a bit too sugar-sweet. Grown-ups will find much to discuss with their little ones about their dreams.

An inventive and charming bedtime story. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-290783-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Engines won’t be the only thing roaring their approval when this book hits storytime.

ELBOW GREASE VS. MOTOZILLA

Who needs sanity when you’ve got family?

The title character of Elbow Grease (2018) and his family of Demolition Derby trucks return to face an all-new competitor. Once again, ’Bo is feeling inadequate next to his fan-favorite brothers. Despite Mel the Mechanic’s encouragement—he’s “the best at getting better”—he wants to be noticed. But instead, he notices someone unavoidable. Motozilla, the monster machine that turns trucks “into crunch sandwiches,” is currently undefeated. Trouble is, you’d need a truck with an array of skills to take him down. Thinking fast, ’Bo makes the wild and somewhat improbable suggestion that he and his brothers join together to form a single supertruck. Will it be enough to take down this bully? Quips, jests, and teamwork are the name of the game as pro wrestler Cena improves on his writing in this second outing, which demonstrates that individual glory falls in the face of concentrated cooperation. Rollicking, radical art portrays the battle in all its gritty glory, mud and twisted metal galore. Human crowds show a diverse range of races and genders, and the trucks’ keeper, Mel, has light-brown skin and wears glasses.

Engines won’t be the only thing roaring their approval when this book hits storytime. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7353-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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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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