The book may be about garbage, but it’s pure gold.

VROOM VROOM GARBAGE TRUCK

A 30-page tour de force of a board book that is even better than its title would suggest.

Given a toddler’s natural fascination for heavy equipment in general and for garbage trucks in particular, this volume could have offered far less and still been a hit. But, surprise, this cleverly written and lovingly rendered volume should prove an absolute delight for caregivers and tots alike. This onomatopoeic opus is ideal read-aloud fun, a slice-of-life snapshot of a garbage truck featuring all the signature sounds that alert tykes that the truck is nearby. It’s still dark when the titular truck wakes to the “plip plop” of raindrops and then starts with a click, headlights on, ready for a creaking, clanging day of rubbish collection. The illustrations are charming and economical, imbuing the protagonist with huge amounts of personality with surprisingly few (satisfyingly thick) lines. The text is hand-lettered into each illustration; the volume of each “rumble” and “vroom” is conveyed calligraphically, by the relative sizes of the letters. The day of sanitation engineering is replete with drama and triumph, whether braking for ducklings or backing up (“beep beep beep!!!”) to collect trash from a man who overslept (“AAAAAAAAAAAH!!!” is the one line of dialogue in the book). The smiling truck dumps its load from its aft end in a panel that could have come from a book on potty training and then heads home for the night.

The book may be about garbage, but it’s pure gold. (Board book. 1-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-943147-43-4

Page Count: 30

Publisher: The Innovation Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read.

THE ABCS OF CHRISTMAS

Little ones are taught their ABCs with Christmas iconography.

A CAT nibbles on a candy cane, and FOXES sing holiday carols, while LANTERNS glow and ORNAMENTS sparkle on festive trees. Christmas is in the air, and so are the letters of the alphabet. Each letter gets a corresponding Christmas illustration, charmingly colored and cozily composed. The easily read text beneath each picture forms rhyming couplets (“GEESE with gumdrops stacked up tall. / HOME is where we deck the halls”), with the key word set in all caps. The imagery mixes spiritual and secular icons side by side: there are baby JESUS, SANTA, the “Three kind KINGS,” and (a little mystifyingly) “UNICORNS donning underwear.” The warm color palette draws little readers in, and the illustrations have a gingerbread-cookie aesthetic, though there is no real attempt to include Christmas traditions such as luminaria from nondominant cultures. The picture that groups a stereotypical Eskimo, an igloo, and some penguins will madden many readers on both cultural and geographical fronts.

A sweet but standard-issue Christmas read. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6125-7

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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