Wow, did I learn a lot from this book! I had no idea a junkyard could be so interesting. Every part of a car is renewable. Talk about the ultimate recycling—this is it. Check out this book and see for yourself. Great photographs illustrate the text. 2001, Tricycle Press, $14.95. Ages 3 to 10. Reviewer: M. Thomas SOURCE: Parent Council, September 2001 (Vol. 9, No. 1)
If ever you've seen a child's eyes light up when anything on four wheels rolls by, you'll know how appropriate the subtitle to Mitchell's lively book is—"A Trip to Junkyard Heaven." To many children, an auto salvage yard is the next best thing to Long John Silver's treasure map. The book follows a smashed-up red car from the first "Come pick up this car!" to the final pile of scrap metal. The process of recycling a wrecked car is an adventure in itself—draining fluids, removing tires and engine, stowing battery and radio on crowded parts shelves, the forklift ride to a masher and shredder. A few detours along the way are filled with pictures that are stories in themselves—an old school bus that has been around so long that a sapling is growing between bumper and body and the interior is filled with chrome wheel covers, one of which has a bird nest resting incongruously on top. A father and son saunter along a gravel path, searching out some oil-smeared treasure. A clerk in the junkyard office scans her computer inventory of used auto parts. A salvage yard "explorer" pauses to peer inside an ancient square station wagon. Finally, the truck driver waves as he sets out to "come pick up this car" once again. A glossary of terms and "junkyard talk" is a delightful addition, with common words such as "blowtorch" and "pallet" to the sublime, such as "torch buggy" or "clam truck." A page of recycling facts follows the glossary. Whether your family is "into cars" or you are a teacher contemplating a field trip that is a little out of the ordinary, this book is a treat. 2001, Tricycle Press, $14.95. Ages 3 to 10. Reviewer: Judy Crowder
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-The subtitle says it all. Through superb, up-close and personal, full-color photographs and descriptive text, armchair visitors can follow along as wrecks and old cars have their fluids drained, their engines pulled, sheet metal removed, and parts such as batteries and radios stored for resale. Those cars still good enough for parts go to their own special resting place in the salvage yard, organized by make, model, and year. The rest go to the crusher, eventually ending up in a metal-recycling center. It's a nitty-gritty, dirty process providing enormous recycling benefits. With a glossary full of junkyard talk and a page of recycling facts, this book is one that readers will pick up to learn the lingo and to understand a bit about the salvage process.-Pamela K. Bomboy, Chesterfield County Public Schools, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
This survey of a junkyard may not fit in a school's average curriculum, but provides an intriguing focus on salvage yard operations. Color photos accompany the very simple overview of a salvage yard's operations.
Junkyards in the US and Canada receive 12 million vehicles a year, and here the creators of Tractor Trailer Trucker: A Powerful Truck Book (2000) follow one typical junker from its arrival on a big flatbed to its eventual rendezvous with a truly humongous car shredder. In sharp, artfully angled, color photos, Borns records the stops along the way, as seven kinds of fluids are drained, its tires join a "sea of tires" awaiting recycling, reusable parts are torched off, battery and radio are removed, and what's left is mashed into a two-foot-high metal pancake in preparation for its final mastication. The Vermont salvage yard where most of these pictures were taken even has an electronic inventory database, and much of what can't be resold is systematically recycled. Mitchell imbues her captioning text with breezy exuberance ("Out With the Mashed . . . In With the Smashed"), and closes with a glossary, a page of statistics, and even a list of Web sites. Junkyards have always been as much a kind of rusty Magic Kingdom as a source of cut-rate car parts; children will want to take this memorable tour more than once. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-8)