An oft-told tale in fire-truck form. It’s earnest, but it fizzles.


When a tiny green-and-white pumper joins the fire crew, the captain truck doubts his abilities.

Firehouse No. 10 seems as though it has all the fire trucks it needs. Capt. Chuck is a large hook and ladder, Emily (stereotypically depicted as the sole truck with eyelashes) is the equipment truck, and Rudy carries the chemical foam. But there is word that a new truck is coming. “Oh, no, no, no!” moans Capt. Chuck. “This will not do! I’m very happy with my crew, crew, crew!” Poor little Kai, a tiny pumper, is doomed before he starts. Plus, the others are a gleaming red, and he is green and white. How will he ever fit in? On his first night in the station, he grabs some red crayons and scribbles himself a new coat. The two other trucks admire his ingenuity, but the captain shouts, “underneath that crayon you’re still white and green. I don’t think you’re right for our team, team, team.” Despite the harsh words, Kai perseveres and proves his worth when, during a fire, he fits into a tight spot that none of the other trucks can reach. Yamada’s animation background shines through in the cartoon trucks reminiscent of Disney’s Cars. Capt. Chuck’s rhymed, thrice-repeated words continue (bafflingly, he’s the only one who speaks this way), but the rhythm becomes increasingly jarring as he gets nicer (perhaps compliments are difficult).

An oft-told tale in fire-truck form. It’s earnest, but it fizzles. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-81636-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


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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A winning tale about finding new friends.


Bear finds a wonderful toy.

Bear clearly loves the toy bunny that he has found sitting up against a tree in the forest, but he wants to help it return to its home. With a wagon full of fliers and the bunny secure in Bear’s backpack, he festoons the trees with posters and checks out a bulletin board filled with lost and found objects (some of which will bring a chuckle to adult readers). Alas, he returns home still worried about bunny. The following day, they happily play together and ride Bear’s tricycle. Into the cozy little picture steps Moose, who immediately recognizes his bunny, named Floppy. Bear has a tear in his eye as he watches Moose and Floppy hug. But Moose, wearing a tie, is clearly grown and knows that it is time to share and that Bear will take very good care of his Floppy. Yoon’s story is sweet without being sentimental. She uses digitized artwork in saturated colors to create a lovely little world for her animals. They are outlined in strong black lines and stand out against the yellows, blues, greens and oranges of the background. She also uses space to great effect, allowing readers to feel the emotional tug of the story.

A winning tale about finding new friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3559-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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