TRUCKS

WHIZZ! ZOOM! RUMBLE!

These neatly skillful rhymes and creative, detailed collages will delight the youngest of truck aficionados. There’s no real story here, just lines of trucks moving on their way, described by size and action (“Heavy trucks. Light trucks. Whizzing-through-the-night trucks”), by function (“Ice-cream trucks. Fire trucks. Carpenters-for-hire trucks”), or by noise (“Trucks that rumble, roar and shriek. Trucks that putter, groan and creak”). Real-life road maps and patterned paper comprise many of the backgrounds as various trucks drive up, down, and across the pages; twice the entire book needs to be turned sideways to follow curving and diagonal roads. Full of detail yet never too busy, the collages can be glanced at quickly or perused at length. Careful readers will notice that many drivers have an unusually strong connection with their particular truck’s cargo—the Arctic Plow snowplow, for example, is driven by a penguin, the flatbed peanut truck by an elephant, the cement truck by a statue, the “Cash or Charge!” money truck by a rhinoceros. The nature of connection between truck, cargo, and driver varies, offering interesting questions to readers in the mood to ponder puns and products; for those who just want rhymes and trucks, this will be a quick, joyful, and often-requested read. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-7614-5124-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2003

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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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A Christmas train book that gets derailed by a lacking story arc.

SANTA AND THE GOODNIGHT TRAIN

From the The Goodnight Train series

Not quite the Polar Express….

Sobel’s rhyming text fails to deliver a clear premise for the eponymous goodnight train’s Christmas Eve progress through the pages, and Huliska-Beith’s acrylic paintings embellished with fabric and paper collage don’t clarify the storytelling. At the start of the picture book, a bevy of anthropomorphic animals decorates a rather rickety-looking engine, and then human children gather around and pile into train cars that look like beds and cribs. The train follows a track, seemingly in pursuit of Santa’s sleigh, but to what end isn’t clear. They travel “through a town of gingerbread” and through the woods to find the sleigh blocking the tracks and the reindeer snoozing while, mystifyingly, Santa counts some sheep. Perching the sleigh on the train’s cowcatcher, they all proceed to the North Pole, where the “elves all cheer. / Santa’s here until next year!” But then the goodnight train just…leaves, “heading home on Christmas Eve.” Was this a dream? It definitely wasn’t a story with a satisfying beginning, middle, and end. Santa’s face is never seen; the human children and elves are diverse.

A Christmas train book that gets derailed by a lacking story arc. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-61840-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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