Junkyard

Overview

Man the machines and help clean up the junkyard in this rousing robot story that encourages community building.

The yard has junk! Stacks and heaps and piles of junk as far as the eye can see. But the Munching Machine robots are on the job—it’s time to get cleaning! And after a whole lot of CRUNCHING, CHEWING, CHOMPING, SLURPING, and SWEEPING, what’s next? Time to get BUILDING, DIGGING, PLANTING, and DECORATING the new park for everyone to ...

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Overview

Man the machines and help clean up the junkyard in this rousing robot story that encourages community building.

The yard has junk! Stacks and heaps and piles of junk as far as the eye can see. But the Munching Machine robots are on the job—it’s time to get cleaning! And after a whole lot of CRUNCHING, CHEWING, CHOMPING, SLURPING, and SWEEPING, what’s next? Time to get BUILDING, DIGGING, PLANTING, and DECORATING the new park for everyone to enjoy!

Fun, rhyming text paired with irresistible robots and radiant results make this an engaging read-aloud that will inspire clean-up projects of all sizes.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
11/04/2013
Two civic-minded robots dubbed the Munching Machines decide to turn their junkyard home, which is an all but in name a Superfund site, into a fabulous community garden and playground. Possessing figurative if not literal ironclad constitutions, they ingest everything within their impressive reach—not just “messy mounds of shopping carts,/ picture frames, and bicycles,” but also “truckloads of stinky fish oil,/ barrels of sticky paste,/ a swimming pool of goopy goo,/ and tubs of toxic waste!” They take a break only long enough to let rip a triumphant “BURP!” before turning the yard into “something new.” Austin’s (Monsters Love Colors) rhyming clomps along like a robot, but the listicle aspect of his text (“They pile dirt high/ to make mountains for hiking/ and a long winding trail/ for running and biking”) should prod readers to lean in and contemplate their own perfect playgrounds. While the two mechanical heroes have just one personality setting—eagerly happy—Austin’s digital illustrations are exuberantly jumbled and layered, making for a bright, colorful mess with an appropriately distressed texture reminiscent of block printing. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)
January 2014 Booklist
"This will likely whip off library shelves and into the hands of young robotloving readers. . . . Beyond the clever rhymes and bright, friendly colors of this ode to caring for the environment, the two smiling, gear-chested robots munching on every form of vehicle imaginable are the very stuff of little boys’ dreams. Austin’s (Monsters Love Colors, 2013) background in design is clear in the simple but sharply defined shapes full of personality and playfulness, perfect for inviting young readers into the yard for a smash-’em-up romp of a good time."
Children's Literature - Sylvia Firth
Youngsters (especially boys) will greatly enjoy this fanciful, rhyming tale of “Munching Machines” that are really robots. They enter a junkyard and begin devouring everything in sight. The items they consume are numerous and include school buses; used tires; jelly jars; bicycles and tricycles; dump trucks; fish oil and toxic waste materials. All that is left in the yard are tracks from a toy train and some bubble gum papers. Now the robots begin a totally new task of beautifying the area. Holes are dug and trees are planted. Many flower seeds are put into the ground. But lots more work is to be done. So it goes on to construct a playground; tennis courts; a man-made lake; a soccer field and a mountain with trails for hiking and biking. They also establish a beautiful vegetable garden. Now they are ready to invite one and all to come and enjoy their new creation. The digitally produced multi-colored illustrations come across as if drawn by young children. This story is an ideal choice for a story time or a discussion on environmental issues. Purchase is recommended. Reviewer: Sylvia Firth; Ages 4 to 6.
Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-13
The title on the cover is a clue to the tale—"JUNK" is rendered in a rusty-colored scribbly style, while "YARD" is a light green with a grassy pattern—but the ultimate message is murky. A frowning sun looks down on a yard full of junk where there's not even enough room for a tree to take root. Austin's scribbly digital illustrations are visually busy, full of discarded junky objects that are half recognizable, the rest of the pile taken up with patterned shapes. Mice scramble through the junkyard while two giant Munching Machines take on the job of eating everything. "They crunch boxcars, jelly jars, / crooked airplane wings. / And five dirty dump trucks / filled with curly metal springs." Troublingly, though, they also slurp up tankers of oil and "tubs of toxic waste," magically getting rid of it. The clean white background slowly begins to dominate, the two robots sweeping the yard clean for something new: trees and flowers, a garden, a playground, a mountain, a lake. But the final illustration seems to incorporate some of the junk in the new play space. Did the robots reuse those items? Is this recycling at work? The message is that garbage is bad and needs to be cleaned up, but it also seems to suggest that this is simple and never mentions anything about reducing what one uses and throws away. While some kids will be fascinated with the robotic Munching Machines, the takeaway is unclear, and the represented ease of getting rid of garbage is certainly wrong. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442459618
  • Publisher: Beach Lane Books
  • Publication date: 1/7/2014
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 627,322
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: AD960L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Austin is the author-illustrator of Junkyard and Monsters Love Colors. He lives with his wife, artist Jing Jing Tsong, and their two children in Kona, Hawaii.

Michael Austin is the author-illustrator of Junkyard and Monsters Love Colors. He lives with his wife, artist Jing Jing Tsong, and their two children in Kona, Hawaii.

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