Readers will thrill to the sense of discovery and exploration the girl experiences: “It is possible.” (Picture book. 2-4)

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The witty minimalism of the black-and-white line artwork by Swiss illustrator Albertine in this extreme landscape-format children’s book belies the psychological depth of the content.

A child is traveling by train from her mother’s home in the city to her grandmother’s home, which is “practically on the other side of the world.” The train, the only color element of the whole book, moves through a landscape that begins as a modern European cityscape (plenty of signs in French for language practice!) and increasingly becomes more surreal and Seuss-ian as the landscape becomes more rural. The story is a gently veiled moral tale of resolution and independence. In spite of the admonitions of her mother and grandmother, who tell her that it is impossible to know the whole world, the child asserts that she intends to travel everywhere, and thus she will be able to know the whole world. Her assertions of independence and determination gain momentum as the train continues. The fact that the train does arrive at its far-distant destination, reuniting the girl with her grandmother, suggests that the child is right and that adults are too rigid in their thinking.

Readers will thrill to the sense of discovery and exploration the girl experiences: “It is possible.” (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 30, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4521-1934-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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From the predictable text to the just-right surprise ending, there’s plenty here to entice toddler readers.

TIME TO GO HOME

From the Little Snail series

A class of cheery animals leave school with their caregivers, minus Little Snail, who carries a secret on their back.

School’s out, and this class is ready to go! This agreeable Chinese import follows a satisfyingly predictable pattern: First there is a double-page spread of a different animal saying farewell to Little Snail, followed by a spread describing the way the critter gets home. Within its succinct pattern there’s a large variety of transportation options, from biking to public transit to car, meaning that most toddlers will relate to at least one of the methods. Additionally, not all the adults picking up youngsters are identified by relationship, allowing space for various child care arrangements. Once all the other animals have gone, there’s a mysterious, dark-green spread with only a giant “Whoosh!” on it—and the turn of the page reveals Little Snail inside their shell. Surprise! “Little Snail is always the first to get home!” Bold, matte prints infuse the cartoon-style animals with personality, from a speckled bear running for the bus and a frolicking pig with movement lines and braids askew to the low, solid-looking snail. A limited palette of rust, forest green, and mustard yellow creates just enough contrast within the distinctive animal prints. Occasionally, the eyes are oddly placed, veering toward cubism, but most retain a childlike charm.

From the predictable text to the just-right surprise ending, there’s plenty here to entice toddler readers. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-8358-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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A picture-book favorite despite minor flaws? That’s a 10-4, good buddy.

TEENY TINY TRUCKS

In McCanna and Frawley’s cheery picture-book debut, miniscule vehicles drive into supersized action.

Accompanied by a bouncy rhyme, several brightly colored trucks rumble through the garden: the lead red-and-blue truck, the more feminine purple truck and the gridlock-loathing aqua truck. Though the color palette and cartoon appearance of the nameless vehicles may seem like a carbon copy of Disney’s Cars (2006), illustrator Frawley has included humorous details for each truck, giving them life beyond their big-screen predecessors. For instance, the red-and-blue truck has jaunty eyebrows created from roof lights, the purple truck’s short bursts of steam look like daisies, and the aqua truck’s expressive eyebrows are actually wiper blades. The illustrations help tell a hilarious story, most notably of a traffic jam featuring a frog, slug and worm who are clearly not amused by the crowded garden path. McCanna similarly handles the text well. The rhythmic pattern is clear, most of the rhyme is spot-on—“Teeny tiny tires. With teeny tiny treads. / Leaving teeny tiny trails between the flower beds”—and the story begs to be read aloud to a group. Typical trucker talk is included in the dialogue—“Breaker breaker, Buddy!” “What’s your twenty, Friend?”—and the lingo is explained in a short glossary at the end of the story. Though the premise is amusing, the proportion of the trucks in relation to their surroundings can be a bit inconsistent. Most images depict the trucks, which are “smaller than a dime,” as being only marginally bigger than ants and bees, yet other images portray the trucks as being much larger—almost half as long as a box of animal crackers. Nevertheless, this delightful story will charm truck-loving children.

A picture-book favorite despite minor flaws? That’s a 10-4, good buddy.

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0989668811

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Bahalia Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2013

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