Vestergaard (Potty Animals) offers 16 poetic tributes to big machines and trucks that should prove deeply satisfying to young connoisseurs and the grownups who read to them. Rising above the usual singsong name-checking, Vestergaard celebrates not only the jobs these machines perform but also their marvelous mechanics (the garbage truck’s hydraulic arms; the levers of the agile skid-steer loader). And she consistently makes word choices that offer both catchy aural hooks and powerful, concise descriptiveness. On a street sweeper: “His steely whiskers whisper/ as they gather dust and dirt./ They tickle all the gutters,/ then rinse them with a squirt.” Slonim’s (The Deer Watch) pictures are rendered in bright acrylics (fire engine red and construction sign yellow prevail) and outlined in appropriately rugged charcoal; their burly cuddliness skews the pages toward younger imaginations. Each machine gets a humanlike expression on its grill (or, at the very least, a pair of googly eyes), and a crew of hardworking, hard-hatted kids and one eager, floppy-eared dog help get the jobs done. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Anna Webman, Curtis Brown. (Aug.)
This book is intelligent and informative, with craft, rhythm, great art, and entertainment.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
Adorable multiethnic children are the drivers of these 16 trucks—from construction equipment to city trucks, rescue vehicles and a semi—easily standing in for readers, a point made very clear on the final spread. Varying rhyme schemes and poem lengths help keep readers’ attention. ... While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems.
Vestergaard (Potty Animals) offers 16 poetic tributes to big machines and trucks that should prove deeply satisfying to young connoisseurs and the grownups who read to them. ... Slonim’s pictures are rendered in bright acrylics (fire engine red and construction sign yellow prevail) and outlined in appropriately rugged charcoal; their burly cuddliness skews the pages toward younger imaginations.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
[Youngsters] will be captivated by the lively artwork. ... Fun for reading aloud, especially one-on- one.
[T]hese playful verses sing the praises of sixteen trucks and the work they do. The lighthearted acrylic and charcoal illustrations enhance the poems’ humor and give their subjects loads of personality. There’s some refreshing gender equality, too, as six of the trucks are female.
—The Horn Book
Although Slonim’s perky accompanying cartoon illustrations play to a younger crowd, Vestergaard’s careful wordsmithery, precise terminology, and sly humor assure that the poems themselves will be appreciated by even more sophisticated listeners. ... Vestergaard changes up her rhyme and meter enough to keeps things interesting, and the scansion is reliable enough to coax even poetry-shy adults into trying a read aloud. Newly independent readers might want to step up to the mic, too, and share in the fun of a high-energy, clanging and banging poetry performance.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
A charming set of rhymes... This is a wonderful addition to the bookshelf of any kid fascinated by big trucks. And who isn't?
—San Antonio Express-News
PreS-Gr 2—These delightful, finely crafted, informative, fun verses can serve as Common Core exemplar texts while satisfying truck and poetry fans. Each rig's function is described with great care and attention to language with seamless rhymes, alliteration, and assonance gracing the selections. Nothing seems forced about Vestergaard's rhymes; they're smooth and sure, and easy to set to memory: "After the asphalt's dumped and spread/in sticky, long black lines,/the road must cure. You can be sure…/Steamroller's close behind…." About the cherry picker, Vestergaard writes, "The picker pauses in the sky,/plucks its target,/then…/gently, slowly, gracefully, sets it down again," and in a tour-de-force ending: "digger, dozer, dumper, grader/backhoe, roller, excavator/…." Each poem is presented on a spread with lighthearted acrylic and charcoal illustrations that often include a girl and two boys of various hues and a yellow hard-hat-wearing pup, as well as the rigs themselves with hints of personification in their headlight eyes. There are 16 machines in all: garbage truck, forklift, street sweeper, and so on. The cartoon children are depicted operating the machines, but the final illustration reverses the relationship of object to child; suddenly the children are quite big and their trucks are small and handheld. This book is intelligent and informative, with craft, rhythm, great art, and entertainment.—Teresa Pfeifer, The Springfield Renaissance School, Springfield, MA
Rhyming poems introduce children to anthropomorphized trucks of all sorts, as well as the jobs that they do. Adorable multiethnic children are the drivers of these 16 trucks--from construction equipment to city trucks, rescue vehicles and a semi--easily standing in for readers, a point made very clear on the final spread. Varying rhyme schemes and poem lengths help keep readers' attention. For the most part, the rhymes and rhythms work, as in this, from "Cement Mixer": "No time to wait; / he can't sit still. / He has to beg your pardon. / For if he dawdles on the way, / his slushy load will harden." Slonim's trucks each sport an expressive pair of eyes, but the anthropomorphism stops there, at least in the pictures--Vestergaard sometimes takes it too far, as in "Bulldozer": "He's not a bully, either, / although he's big and tough. / He waits his turn, plays well with friends, / and pushes just enough." A few trucks' jobs get short shrift, to mixed effect: "Skid-Steer Loader" focuses on how this truck moves without the typical steering wheel, but "Semi" runs with a royalty analogy and fails to truly impart any knowledge. The acrylic-and-charcoal artwork, set against white backgrounds, keeps the focus on the trucks and the jobs they are doing. While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)