Who cares? The equation of trucks + bedtime book = best-seller, even if it does set feminism back a few decades.

GOODNIGHT, GOODNIGHT CONSTRUCTION SITE

From the Construction Site series

A group of construction vehicles put themselves to bed.

Rhyming couplets set the scene (“The sun has set, the work is done; / It’s time for trucks to end their fun”) and then describe their bedtime routines, truck by truck. The crane sets one last beam before settling in, a star-shaped nightlight suspended from his lowered mast and a teddy bear clutched in his stabilizing arms. The cement mixer is hosed down before giving into slumber beneath a much-too-small polka-dot blanket. The dump truck deposits one last load before conking out next to heaps of rubble. As depicted by Lichtenheld, the trucks all have googly windshield eyes and grins that more or less correspond to grilles. They look a lot like Disney Pixar’s Cars, but there are only so many ways to anthropomorphize a truck. He exerts his artistry in other ways; the dump truck’s snores, depicted as a rising stream of ever larger Z’s, float into the night, becoming part of the steel framework of the building under construction. Rinker’s verse does not always scan well, but it is rhythmic enough to carry readers along. It is a real shame that not a single one of these muscular vehicles is female; this employer is clearly not interested in equal opportunity.

Who cares? The equation of trucks + bedtime book = best-seller, even if it does set feminism back a few decades. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: May 4, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8118-7782-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2014

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As gentle and unassuming as Oliver, this story thoroughly charms.

OLIVER'S TREE

It’s no fun for anyone when someone is left out!

Baby elephant Oliver has two very good friends: Lulu, an owlet, and Charlie, a bunny. Playing outside is something they love to do, but the happy trio runs into trouble while trying to climb trees, because Oliver just can’t manage due to his bulk. Warm, appealing watercolors defined with pen and ink and containing just the right amount of detail show the three friends as they patiently search for a tree that is perfect for all of them. Simple text describes their trial and error, as they find trees that are too small, too weak or too tall. “It’s hopeless!” wails Oliver. “Elephants just don’t belong in trees!” When Oliver, exhausted by their efforts, succumbs to sleep, Lulu and Charlie hatch a plan to solve the problem by using their own unique talents. Will they succeed and provide Oliver with a happy surprise? No doubt! Suffused with warmth and gentle humor, this deceptively simple story demonstrates the power of friendship, the importance of working together and problem-solving, while simultaneously introducing basic concepts (high/low, tall/short) in a pleasing, organic way. Young children will root for the three friends, enjoy the mild suspense and delight in the very satisfying ending.

As gentle and unassuming as Oliver, this story thoroughly charms. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25700-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2014

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An engaging story arguing for the marriage of technology with creativity and play.

DOLL-E 1.0

A young girl receives a puzzling gift.

Young Charlotte has always been the most tech-savvy member of her family, helping her mother with a tablet and her father with the smart TV. After Charlotte’s parents observe a news report cautioning against letting kids get “too techy,” the couple presents Charlotte with a doll. The doll doesn’t move or think—it simply sits and utters the word “Ma-ma.” Charlotte reasons that for a doll to talk it must have a power supply, and with a few modifications and a little imagination, Charlotte’s doll becomes Doll-E 1.0. The STEM-friendly narrative is brought to life with charming pencil-and-watercolor illustrations, edited in Photoshop. The scratchy lines are reminiscent of the pictures children like Charlotte sketch at their drawing boards, and the dynamic compositions burst with energy. Charlotte is an engaging character, expressive and thoughtful in equal measure. Charlotte’s doll is adorably rendered, looking mostly like any other common doll but just unique enough that little ones may want one of their own. Charlotte and her family present white; little dog Bluetooth is a scruffy, white terrier.

An engaging story arguing for the marriage of technology with creativity and play. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-51031-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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