Hyperbole taken to the utmost thanks to the bottomless well of transportation enthusiasm.

ON THE GO AWESOME

Dedicated to the notion that there is always something more awesome to attempt.

A kid lets their mind wander to its natural limits. If, for example, “trains are cool,” and if “watching a train is very cool,” and if “riding on a train is even cooler,” then “conducting a train through the mountains” must be “CHUGGA CHUGGA AWESOME!” This pattern is replicated with a wide variety of other heavy-duty machines. Operating an excavator? “DIG INTO AWESOME!” Piloting a plane? “PREPARE FOR AWESOME!” The child, who has pale skin, like parents and sibling, and straight, dark hair, imagines operating subway trains, monster trucks, boats, and rockets. (Background characters are racially diverse; the woman-of-color co-pilot is a nice touch.) Finally the kid looks out the window of a camper. “Campers are cool. Wait! Are campers cool?” They sure are, and this is one family adventure the kid can actually take outside of the imagination. Detlefsen’s text delights in drilling into just how much fun each of the activities featured could be. Meanwhile, the colorful, cartoon artwork meticulously works to render every “awesome” encounter in its natural, amazing extreme. From the blinding array of instruments in the cockpit of an airplane to the sight of tiny cars being crushed beneath monster wheels, there’s a jolt of adrenaline cooked into every page. The transportation-obsessed have found a new tale to pore over. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 30.5% of actual size.)

Hyperbole taken to the utmost thanks to the bottomless well of transportation enthusiasm. (Picture books. 2-4)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-5234-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

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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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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  • Newbery Medal Winner

LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET

A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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