LITTLE YELLOW TRUCK

A little yellow truck wrestles with feelings of inadequacy.

When lumberyard owner Riley informs his crew of trucks that he’s purchased some land to turn into a playground, Little Yellow is thrilled. Yet all the other trucks get the big jobs, like hauling the trash, pouring the concrete, and delivering the equipment, and it seems there’s nothing left for a small pickup to do. Fortunately Riley’s got a job for him, and it’s just right for a little guy. While the book attempts to connect with child readers by appealing to their sympathy with a character’s disappointment, little artistry accompanies the writing. Bunting takes a glancing pass at spiffing up the text with copious sound effects of trucks at work (“Bang, clang, smack, whack”) and descriptions of the “lumpy, bumpy, clumpy land,” but the tale itself does little to engage readers beyond the presence of the trucks themselves. Additionally, the simplified computer art and cartoony anthropomorphized vehicles do the book no favors. Human characters are depicted in a wide range of ethnicities and abilities (Riley is white), but while it is good to include a kid who uses a wheelchair, it is impossible not to notice that none of the playground equipment is made to be accessible to that child.

A honk and a miss. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58536-407-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Simple acts of kindness that warm the heart.

FINDING KINDNESS

“Kindness is sometimes / a cup and a card.” Wait! What?

Yes, kindness is a cup and a card—when someone uses them to gently trap a ladybug inside and release it outside. With a simple rhyming text and softly colored illustrations of community scenes, each page shows neighbors, professionals, and strangers modeling simple acts of kindness toward people and animals. A child rakes leaves for an older neighbor, another brings soup to someone who is “sneezy,” and one even shares a book via a clever bucket delivery system. As neighboring businesses, a flower seller swaps a bouquet for peaches with a grocer. A fireman rescues a cat from a tree, park security helps a lost child, and an ice cream vendor gives a cone to a young skater who has fallen. Even strangers act with kindness and return a dropped key, snap a picture for a vacationing family, and adopt a dog that “others ignore.” From infants to grandparents, people in this busy and diverse community come together to enjoy one another and their common interests. Illustrations show a girl wearing a hijab, a child in a wheelchair playing badminton with friends, and interracial families.

Simple acts of kindness that warm the heart. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-23789-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Though Penguin doesn’t discover any of his own true talents, young listeners will probably empathize with wanting something...

FLIGHT SCHOOL

From the Flight School series

A small round penguin with lofty aspirations finds success of a sort in a sweet, if slight, appreciation of the resourcefulness of teachers.

The sign near a cluster of wooden pilings in the middle of the water reads “FLIGHT SCHOOL / WE TEACH BIRDS TO FLY.” “I was hatched to fly,” announces Penguin upon his arrival from the South Pole. “I have the soul of an eagle,” he assures the gently dubious Teacher. “Penguin and the other birdies practiced for weeks,” but he succeeds only in plunging into the ocean—not terribly gracefully. He is ready to give up when a solution devised by Teacher and Flamingo has Penguin flying, if only for a few moments, and his happiness at this one-time achievement is lasting. Judge’s edge-to-edge watercolor-and-pencil art is lively and amusing. Her various sea and shore birds—gulls, a pelican, a heron and a small owl among them—and their fledglings are just a little scruffy, and they are exaggeratedly, expressively funny in their anthropomorphic roles as teachers and students. Background shades of warm yellow, sea blue and green, and brown sand let the friendly, silly faces and bodies of the birds take center stage.

Though Penguin doesn’t discover any of his own true talents, young listeners will probably empathize with wanting something so far out of reach. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-14424-8177-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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