Look to the helpers in this love song to rescue vehicles in cold, remote places.


Rescue vehicles meet a complex problem with some seriously adult tools.

There’s a wreck on the highway! Snowy conditions have left a semi on its side, the scrap it was hauling spilling out at the rear. Good thing Big Orange is on the job. This tow truck has “14 wheels, a boom, a hook, and….Oh yes. A winch!” But this isn’t a job it can do alone. The driver needs a tanker to drain the semi’s fuel and a second rig called Big Blue to help get that semi in an upright position. That done, a new flatbed will drive away with the trailer, and what’s left will head off to the repair shop. That is, until a patch of black ice makes a new rescue mission necessary. Texture comes primarily in the form of snow on an icy winter’s day. Otherwise, Gall’s art has a Playmobil’s smooth feel, rendering trees as perfect cones and human figures little more than foils to the equipment they wield. (All humans have pale skin, though a couple are slightly browner than the driver of Big Orange.) From the rescue saw through the outriggers to the trailer’s snatch block, the solution to the semi’s problem may prove just as fascinating to adult readers as their truck-loving offspring. Most specialized vocabulary is set in boldface and italicized, but not, maddeningly, that snatch block, nor is it clear what exactly that particular piece of equipment is.

Look to the helpers in this love song to rescue vehicles in cold, remote places. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-01539-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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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 nursery school approach to a general concept. "A tree is nice"- Why? Because..."We can climb the tree...play pirate ship...pick the apples...build playhouses out of the leaves. A tree is nice to hang a swing in...Birds build nests in trees... Sticks come off trees...People have picnics there too"...etc. etc. One follows the give and take of a shared succession of reactions to what a tree- or trees- can mean. There is a kind of poetic simplicity that is innate in small children. Marc Simont has made the pictures, half in full color, and they too have a childlike directness (with an underlying sophistication that adults will recognize). Not a book for everyone -but those who like it will like it immensely. The format (6 x 11) makes it a difficult book for shelving, so put it in the "clean hands" section of flat books. Here's your first book for Arbor Day use- a good spring and summer item.

Pub Date: June 15, 1956

ISBN: 978-0-06-443147-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Harper

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1956

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