Both an excellent book for guided reading and a winning read-aloud.



From the Ty's Travels series

Ty loves adventure, but he is having a little trouble finding someone to join him.

Ty, a little black boy, wants to play, but everyone in the house is too busy to take time for him. After being turned down by his dad, mom, and big brother, Corey, Ty wanders downstairs to the family room, where he finds an empty cardboard box. He and his puppy inspect the box, draw some wheels onto it, and make a locomotive that rumbles and whistles down an imaginary track. Ty steers his train past farmland and a city and through a tunnel, picking up familiar and eager passengers along the way. This My First I Can Read book will engage young beginning readers. They will relate to Ty’s playfulness, sense of adventure, and energetic imagination. Readers will also enjoy the vivid and playful illustrations that take them from Ty’s home and into the world he imagines. Repeated onomatopoeic phrases build anticipation: “Woo-woo,” “Chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga,” and “Clickety-clack.” These are framed around the pickup of each passenger, helping to control pacing while giving readers an opportunity for fun. Mata renders the imaginary scenes in a childlike crayon that blends nicely with the warm visions of this black family’s middle-class home.

Both an excellent book for guided reading and a winning read-aloud. (Early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-295107-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Another breezy sail past things that go.



From the Everything Goes series

Biggs ferries young viewers past floating fleets in his latest set of bustling cartoon surveys.

The voyage is sandwiched between sequences of big, wordless before and after panels. It begins when a vacationing family drives aboard a Center City ferry. After casting off, it navigates past themed gatherings of working boats and gigantic ships; craft of various sizes and historical periods driven by oars, motors or sails; houseboats and more. It docks in the wake of a climactic double gatefold in an entire harbor full of diverse vessels. Along the way, minidisquisitions on sails and propellers, cargo shipping, submarines, cruise ships and other nautical topics are delivered with plenty of sight gags and side business. Signal flags spell out “fish fry tonight,” and a fishing boat dubbed Archimedes demonstrates buoyancy and displacement, for instance. Biggs adds cutaway views as well as labels, jokes (“How long do you think the trip will take?” “About fifty-six pages”), review questions and occasional selfies to his full but not overstuffed scenes.

Another breezy sail past things that go. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-195811-3

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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An early-reader book to build on.


An accessible, rhyming text drives this story-with-a-twist about a construction site, inviting new readers to hone their emerging skills.

Initial spreads depict a variety of vehicles engaged in digging, scooping, lifting and so on, detailing the activities of a construction site. Varied visual perspectives in the art draw the eyes to the different machines, but they can be disorienting—particularly in the worm’s-eye view on the spread reading “Digger’s teeth bite the ground,” which does not show the “[t]racks skid[ding] around” as indicated by the text. On the other hand, while some readers may wonder why the vehicles’ operators are not seen in the art, this omission is satisfyingly resolved in a long-shot spread that depicts a group of children playing with toy trucks in a sand pile. The vehicles are clearly miniversions of those from prior pages, and it’s refreshing to see both boys and girls and at least one child of color included in the group “working like a team.” From here, the narrative draws the children’s play to a conclusion by book’s end, providing readers with a fictive parallel to their own accomplishments in finishing the book: “Good work, crew!”

An early-reader book to build on. (Early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-96910-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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