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Children's LiteratureAn entry in the well-done "Roaring Rides" series, this book features gutsy vocabulary, interesting insider jargon, boxed "Roaring Facts," and informative picture captions for the well-chosen photographs. The setup is designed to grab the attention of would-be vehicle aficionados with frequent topic-headed text and plenty of white space. Some facts are printed on a muddy splash which also contributes to the easily-browsed appeal. The book opens with a description of a live monster truck competition; an in-depth look at Bigfoot, a legendary Ford truck that crushes competition; and a 16-truck team. Each of the two to three hundred monster trucks in competition has a colorful name. One chapter details the ways the trucks are built for stability and power; why they get 250 feet to the gallon; why they have monster tires; and the safety features built into these vehicles. The history of monster trucks mentions carnival events in the 1980s making this a comparatively new sport. A profile of a female driver, several fun charts such as comparing a monster truck to an elephant, and one useful monster truck—which works for the Virginia Beach Fire Department—are also included. While the vocabulary is often challenging, to the interested reader this is a seductive invitation to hunker down and read for awhile. Numerous websites, suggested further reading, a glossary, and an index are included. 2004, Rourke Publishing, Ages 10 to 14.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.