THE RACECAR ALPHABET

On the title spread, a 1901 Ford bears down on the reader, its determined driver bent on speed—the first of many to come. Alliterative statements take readers through the alphabet and a hundred years of racecars: “Eyes in the audience, each open and eager, expecting excitement (enduring exhaust). / Flat feared and fought, the driver’s foe” accompanies a double-page spread of 1920s-era racegoers watching as five cars blur by—and one driver kicks a flat tire in frustration. A variety of startling perspectives aided by loose ink drawings and streaky watercolors create an astonishing sense of movement and speed. The humor inherent in much of the text—“X-ray after an accident. / ‘Yelp!’ ”—may be lost on the preschool set, but not on the patient adults who will be asked to read this offering again—and again—and again. An enthusiastic author’s note outlining the history of auto racing and endpapers depicting all the cars with years and makes provide some educational content, but it’s the zooming spreads that drive this book. Hold on to your hats! (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-689-85091-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Richard Jackson/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2003

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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