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by Doug Cenko ; illustrated by Doug Cenko

Pub Date: April 7th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-936669-83-7
Publisher: blue manatee press

What starts as a standard auto race evolves (quite literally) into a cooperative lesson.

Primed and pumped to conquer, five “scrappy little monster trucks” (resembling a cat, wedge of Swiss cheese, knight, shark, and unicorn) race one another along a twisty, turny obstacle course. Fortunately, every problem they encounter has a solution, as the trucks use their special features to escape muck and leap over gaps. But what’s this? A humongous boulder stumps the intrepid racers such that none can beat it separately. Then, in a singularly Voltron-esque move, the trucks shift their parts and combine to form a single “Monster Bot” capable of stomping the stony impediment to bits. The result? A five-way tie, naturally. Unexciting art gets the job done, not impressing with style so much as with mild ingenuity. As these are little trucks, it seems fitting that it’s the book’s little touches (such as the cheese truck’s grater mode or the cat truck’s extendable claws) that are the most droll. Alas, what it lacks in looks it does not quite make up for in writing. Perfunctory rhymes occasionally give way to soft ones (“A MONSTER leap with mid-air flips / The gap’s TOO BIG! They’ll DROP LIKE BRICKS!”). Adult readers may twitch, but the young and vehicularly obsessed probably won’t mind.

Monster mehs.

(Picture book. 3-6)