As the old truck stays with its family, this charming book will stay with readers.

THE OLD TRUCK

The eponymous old truck serves as the vehicle for a quiet story about farm life and hard work.

Brothers Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey created over 250 stamps to create the striking illustrations that give the book a distinct look and echo the message of hard work and persistence pouring from it. The declarative simplicity of the text is perfect for an emerging reader without betraying the strength of the story. As the book describes how hardworking the truck is, readers see the smiling, brown-skinned parents and daughter, wordlessly at work. The family can be seen loading produce onto the truck, carrying baskets back into the barn, feeding chickens, and fixing the truck. The placement of the sun on the horizon line demonstrates how long the family works each day. At night, the daughter dreams: "The old truck sailed the seas, / braved the skies, / and chased the stars." As the truck ages, so does the family; most notably, readers see the girl grow into a woman. Now “the new farmer,” she tows the truck out of tall grass. She works long into the night to repair it. But dreams and persistence pay off: “VROOOOOOOM!!” This heartfelt celebration of resilience in the face of change, with a determined Black woman at its center, packs a powerful punch.

As the old truck stays with its family, this charming book will stay with readers. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-324-00519-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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A delight for car and truck fans young and old.

TOW TRUCK JOE

From the Tow Truck Joe series

Don’t cry over spilled milk. Add crumbled cookies and freeze to make Cookie Crunch ice cream with your friends instead.

Tow truck Joe and his pup, Patch, roam Drivedale honking “Hello!” and helping vehicles (all are anthropomorphic) in trouble. They charge batteries and replace flat tires until “SCREECH! BANG! CRUNCH! CRASH” An accident! It appears the milk truck was going too fast and hit a cart full of cookies. What a mess! Traffic is at a standstill, but Joe, Patch, and all the other trucks help out. The cement mixer is ready. The bulldozer cleans up the cookie crumbles, and the grocery truck supplies sugar and vanilla. Patch adds milk from the milk truck, and the mixer stirs everything up. An ice cream truck offers to freeze the mixture. Voila! Cookie Crunch ice cream! Slowly and carefully, all the vehicles follow Joe and Patch to the garage to end the busy day with scoops of their delicious ice cream creation. Related in an easy, conversational rhyme with clear and bright illustrations, this story is a good read-aloud, but it’s an even better one-on-one read. Children and adults need to pore over the written puns in the illustrations. Signs such as “BIG WHEEL COOKIES—THEY TASTE WHEELY GREAT” and “KNEAD FOR SPEED BAKERY” are too good to miss.

A delight for car and truck fans young and old. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-358-05312-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Lovely and life-affirming.

FLOAT

This wordless story, bookended by the creation of two iconic paper toys, follows a Latino boy through outdoor playtime.

After his father folds a boat from a sheet of newspaper with a photo of sailboats on it, the boy sets off in head-to-toe yellow raingear. He shields his boat from a downpour, then floats it in puddles that reflect the tidy neighborhood’s houses and trees. After some joyous puddle-jumping, the boy sets the boat into a sluicing rivulet, pursuing it as it’s swept away. When the boat slips down a grate, the dramatic perspective is from the inky dark underground, the boy futilely stretching an arm through the bars. Washed from a drainage pipe into a stream, the erstwhile boat, now a sodden sheet, is fished out by the dejected lad. He walks home to the comfort of dad’s hug, dry clothes, and expertly blown-dry hair. There’s shared hot cocoa and more newspaper-folding. (This time, a jet’s photo appears.) Digitally rendered in grays accented in yellow, the pictures’ hyper-realistic style is softened by dry-brush effects and the boy’s captured emotions. The penultimate composition looks through the open doorway to the boy on the front porch. Now in shorts and T-shirt, clutching a paper airplane, he’s silhouetted against a square of brilliant yellow sky. That yellow dominates the final spread, celebrating housetops, as the boy readies for his first launch.

Lovely and life-affirming. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1524-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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