This is one road kids will be happy to travel again.

ROAD CREW, COMING THROUGH!

From the Construction Site series

There’s no crew like a familiar crew! Rinker’s perpetually cheery vehicles are back to build a road.

From construction crew to road crew, the intrepid heroes that first made their appearance in Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld (2011), have returned yet again, with Ford illustrating, as he has since 2018. In this new iteration, the team has settled in a land of mesas, cacti, and scrub. Joined by new vehicles Compacter, Scraper, Grader, Roller, Striper, Water Truck, and Paver, they are given plans to construct a route “from here…to there,” and there’s not a moment to lose. After all, this isn’t just any road. It’s a “SUPERHIGHWAY, MEGA ROAD!” The rhyming text follows each piece of equipment as they do their part in paving the dusty landscape. In the course of a day (or so it would appear) the road is finished. That cars and trucks are able to use it immediately strains at the tensile strength of adult credulity, but construction-loving tots won’t care a jot. And conflict-averse youngsters needn’t worry, as not a thing goes wrong. To offset some of the natural concerns regarding the construction of superhighways, the book takes care to include wildlife crossings within the illustrations and adds an explanation at the end about their necessity. Vehicles are identified with both male and female pronouns throughout. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This is one road kids will be happy to travel again. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-79720-472-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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Fans of the series will delight in seeing these favorites again, and Girl and Dragon should win some new ones.

SAIL AWAY DRAGON

A young girl and a dragon take their sweet friendship on an adventure.

After sharing the beginning and deepening of their friendship in Lovabye Dragon (2012) and Evermore Dragon (2015), Joosse puts this twosome on a journey to the high seas. Girl, forever sleeping in her same bed, dreams of sailing away. Dragon, snug in his lair, dreams of sailing with Girl. “Sometimes when friends share a heart / they dream the same thing, apart.” So they pack a wicker basket, a spyglass, and a banner and wave goodbye. The ocean provides plenty of interest with dolphins, whales, and Bad Hats with ratty beards (depicted as Vikings who differ only in the amount of their facial hair). There’s also a cat. The dreamy, highly textured oil pictures by Cecil in his signature palette of gentle grays, greens, and blues make the transition from land to sea seamlessly. With a tender nod to “The Owl and the Pussycat,” the scenery is full of diversions while the clever rhyming verse full of wordplay drifts the story farther from Home. The hazy images allow young minds to see this tiny princess with dark hair as racially ambiguous. As in many famous stories, one must leave home to find home, which is the same for these two loving friends. “With Dragon as boat / and Girl as crew / there was nothing—nothing—they couldn’t do!”

Fans of the series will delight in seeing these favorites again, and Girl and Dragon should win some new ones. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7313-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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A brassy, assertive fellow—young readers in the middle of their own power struggles will relate.

TOUGH TUG

A tugboat’s size and might are easy to anthropomorphize; add this personified puffer to the mix.

Tough Tug is built near Seattle, made of strong steel welded together and adorned with a fresh coat of bright red paint. Wide googly eyes and a determined smile complete the look. On launch day, Tough Tug triumphantly flashes forward and backward, twirling and swirling through the water. Older tugboats (distinguished variously by mustaches, glasses, and eye patches) grumble at the youngster’s bravado. “Push and pull is what tugs do. Practice THAT.” Tough Tug’s first job is to tow a barge to Alaska. Rhythmic mantras churn across the surface of the water in bold navy letters: “Ready, steady. / Steady, ready. // Chug and tug. / Tug and chug.” But Tough Tug is overeager and challenges Arctic Tug to a race. The thrum changes to “Race and run! / Run and race!” Arctic Tug is first to Sitka, but while crossing the open ocean to Anchorage, the older tug gets into trouble. It’s Tough Tug to the rescue! McClurkan’s digital paintings look quite modern, but there is a feel to his foamy waves that recalls the mid-20th-century harbor of Little Toot. The anthropomorphized boats have plenty of personality, and readers who study the expressions on the container ships will be rewarded. An author’s note explains this was inspired by a true story of one tug rescuing another boat from a competing tugboat company.

A brassy, assertive fellow—young readers in the middle of their own power struggles will relate. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5039-5098-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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