MITCHELL'S LICENSE

Mitchell, a rambunctious 3-year-old, never wants to go to bed—that is, until he gets his driver’s license. His father’s shoulders become the vehicle of choice, and clever conceits are quick to follow: He cleans the windshield (his dad's glasses), kicks the tires (his slippers) and away they go! With each night, the curly-haired tyke creatively cares for his car, and his driving improves. But when Mitchell insists the tank is empty and cookies are the fuel, the amiable car takes control, ensuring the road to sleep is safe and smooth. Durand’s text will appeal to the active and car obsessed, but Fucile’s masterful illustrations, full of expressive characters, great physical comedy and wonderful warmth, will engage readers young and old. His digital artwork has a loving, hand-drawn quality to it, and while he pays homage to artists from the golden age of animation, Tex Avery and Bob Clampett among them, his style defines and refines American cartooning in the best possible sense. However, an opportunity was missed in the title’s overall design, as the typeface and the additional graphics, as well as their placement, are not adequately married to Fucile’s fine artwork. Minimalist environments, a neutral color palette and the home’s décor epitomize the modern ’50s era, while the bond between father and son is timeless. An incredibly entertaining ride, despite the design speed bumps. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 26, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4496-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

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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Engines won’t be the only thing roaring their approval when this book hits storytime.

ELBOW GREASE VS. MOTOZILLA

Who needs sanity when you’ve got family?

The title character of Elbow Grease (2018) and his family of Demolition Derby trucks return to face an all-new competitor. Once again, ’Bo is feeling inadequate next to his fan-favorite brothers. Despite Mel the Mechanic’s encouragement—he’s “the best at getting better”—he wants to be noticed. But instead, he notices someone unavoidable. Motozilla, the monster machine that turns trucks “into crunch sandwiches,” is currently undefeated. Trouble is, you’d need a truck with an array of skills to take him down. Thinking fast, ’Bo makes the wild and somewhat improbable suggestion that he and his brothers join together to form a single supertruck. Will it be enough to take down this bully? Quips, jests, and teamwork are the name of the game as pro wrestler Cena improves on his writing in this second outing, which demonstrates that individual glory falls in the face of concentrated cooperation. Rollicking, radical art portrays the battle in all its gritty glory, mud and twisted metal galore. Human crowds show a diverse range of races and genders, and the trucks’ keeper, Mel, has light-brown skin and wears glasses.

Engines won’t be the only thing roaring their approval when this book hits storytime. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7353-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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