For some children, however, the real excitement will come after they’ve reached the last page and their grown-up asks, “What...

WHAT CAN A CRANE PICK UP?

This is the sort of book readers co-write along with the author.

Children already know how to play this game. If they like construction vehicles, then any time they look at a large object, they’re probably thinking, “Could a crane pick that up?” A truck, of course, and another truck and yet another truck, and even "a railroad car, if it gets stuck." On Dotlich goes, upping the ante, until she asks, “Can a crane pick up a crane?” By the end of the book, the crane has lifted a crane, a polar bear and a submarine. Most readers will be impressed, but children who play the game year-round will wonder why it didn’t pick up a brachiosaurus or a pirate ship or a wagon full of elephants. But items like “an ancient mummy’s case” and “boxes and boxes of underwear” will satisfy them. Sometimes an entire page is covered with objects, as though the artist couldn’t stop drawing. Even the words of the story are scattered all over the page. This can make the rhythmic, pleasingly rhymed text fragmented and difficult to follow, but most of the time, it gives the story an energy that’s hard to resist. 

For some children, however, the real excitement will come after they’ve reached the last page and their grown-up asks, “What else can a crane pick up?” Children will ask to read this book many times, but the words may change every time they read it. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86726-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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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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Grown-ups be warned: Young fingers will delight in pressing the tractor’s buttons (and yours!) over and over.

NOISY TRACTOR

From the I Can Learn series

Little ones can explore a day in the life of a rubber-covered, audio-enabled tractor.

The “5 noisy parts!” promised on the cover are powered by a battery embedded in the back of the book, the compartment securely screwed shut. Youngsters are prompted by the text to press various parts of the tractor to make interesting sound effects, such as an engine starting then chugging, a horn, and tire noise on muddy or rocky terrain. A large, tractor-shaped die-cut hole in every page allows children to access the vehicle on every double-page spread but leaves the left-hand pages dominated by that tractor-shaped hole. Farm animals make their signature sounds via speech bubble (horses, chicks, and cows, to name a few) along with other critters offering suggestions about which buttons on the tractor to press. For additional play value, a ladybug and a caterpillar can be spotted on every double-page spread. Labels for most of the animals appear in a clear font along with other farm-centric vocabulary words: pitchfork, seedlings, trough. Elliott’s art is busy, but the simple, eye-catching patterns and graphically clean lines in bright colors will appeal to the audience. While this offering is perfect for toddlers, the extensive warnings in the fine print on the back of the book about what may happen if the button battery is swallowed should scare adults into being vigilant. Thankfully, there is an on/off switch allowing for toggling between a quiet and noisy reading experience.

Grown-ups be warned: Young fingers will delight in pressing the tractor’s buttons (and yours!) over and over. (Novelty board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-669-5

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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