From the LyricPop series

A small child takes a magical ride on the “dream weaver train.”

Evocative lyrics from the title song of Wright’s 1975 solo album, The Dream Weaver, form the text of this LyricPop offering. The first-person speaker boards the dream weaver train, asking the driver to “take away my worries of today / and leave tomorrow behind.” Believing the dream weaver will “get me through the night” to “reach the morning light,” the speaker asks the dream weaver to “fly me high through the starry skies / maybe to an astral plane” and “cross the highways of fantasy / …to forget today’s pain.” The repetitive lyrics raise questions about the speaker’s identity and source of pain as well as about the mysterious dream weaver. However, playful collages, using patterns, textures, and color, span the double-page spreads and provide needed child-friendly context. Tucked into bed with a stuffed lion and pet dachshund, the speaker proves to be a brown-skinned child with a teary eye. In the subsequent spread, kid and dachshund eagerly board the purple train driven by the dream weaver, an encouraging lion. As the fantastic train speeds through the dark night and starry skies, the boy forgets the pain (revealed to be physical rather than psychic: caused by a bicycle spill) and enjoys the ride, passing through woods, sliding down an enormous cat-shaped clock, running across the moon’s surface, and riding giant butterflies toward morning’s light. Simultaneously publishing in the series are: The Pixies song Where Is My Mind?, by Black Francis and illustrated by Alex Eben Meyer; Coldplay’s Strawberry Swing, illustrated by Mitch Miller; the Gloria Gaynor hit I Will Survive (starring a platinum-tressed green-skinned ET), by Frederick J. Perren and Dino Fekaris, and illustrated by Kaitlyn Shea O’Connor; and Paul Simon’s The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy), illustrated by Keith Henry Brown.

Dreamy bedtime fare. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-61775-857-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Akashic

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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


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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