I AM A BACKHOE

Like many young boys, this book’s protagonist marries an active imagination to a love of trucks. In a layout perfectly designed for the youngest readers, Hines uses one double-page spread to show the young boy acting out the motions of one of his favorite trucks: “I dig my hand / into the sand, / my scooper hand. / Dig. Dig. Dig. / Lift, turn, tip. / I am... // a backhoe”—with a turn of the page that reveals the boy still engaged in pretend play but with the actual truck massively in the background, also performing the same action. The trucks include the titular backhoe, a bulldozer, crane truck, dump truck and roller. In a wonderful ending segue, Daddy the flatbed truck backs the young boy up onto the couch, where they share a book together. The digital artwork has a soft look and feel and features vibrant colors for both the clearly outlined objects and the blank backgrounds. Spare text with a simple vocabulary makes this an excellent choice for both toddlers and those who are just beginning to read. The author has turned an ordinary (and overdone) topic into something extraordinary. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: March 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-58246-306-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2010

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ROADWORK

Sutton’s latest is a truck-lover’s dream come true—repetition, rhyme and onomatopoeia form the text, while construction trucks vie for readers’ attention in the illustrations. The result is a wonderfully noisy look at how roads are built. From a line on a map and an empty field to the finished road complete with lights and signs, youngsters will be able to follow all the steps, learning all the vehicles that take part in the process (a final page introduces readers to each one). “Pack the ground. Pack the ground. / Roll one way, then back. / Make the roadbed good and hard. / Clang! Crunch! Crack!” Lovelock’s debut certainly makes an impression. His pigmented ink illustrations keep the focus on the machines and the individual parts they play in building the road. The level of detail matches the text’s intended audience—enough to satisfy, not so much as to overwhelm. Pave the way to this book’s shelf; perfect for read-alouds, it will be a hit whether shared with a group or one-on-one. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-7636-3912-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2008

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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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