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Twenty Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street

Twenty Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street

5.0 3
by Mark Lee, Kurt Cyrus (Illustrator)

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Count the trucks getting stuck in a traffic jam in this rhythmic read-aloud sure to draw in kids who love everything on wheels.

One ice-cream truck selling everything sweet breaks down and blocks the middle of our street.
If you’re a little boy on a bike, an ice-cream truck on your street is always a welcome sight. But what if the truck breaks


Count the trucks getting stuck in a traffic jam in this rhythmic read-aloud sure to draw in kids who love everything on wheels.

One ice-cream truck selling everything sweet breaks down and blocks the middle of our street.
If you’re a little boy on a bike, an ice-cream truck on your street is always a welcome sight. But what if the truck breaks down and blocks the mail truck behind it (now there are two), not to mention a third truck carrying hay? One by one, trucks of all types and sizes and functions are sure to pile up behind, offering ample opportunity for ogling — and counting. And maybe the boy’s idea for putting one of the trucks to good use might even save the day!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
An ice cream truck breaking down in “the middle of our street” is a dream come true for many a kid—not to mention the ensuing traffic jam that strands 20 trucks of every shape and purpose. But one boy has something bigger in mind than licking a cone or being a spectator: he wants to solve the problem. That takes some persistence, but he eventually wins over the crowd with a solution that’s literally right in front of them. Adult author Lee, making his children’s debut, seems a bit stuck himself, delineating the mostly easy-to-recognize vehicles (“A pickup truck is number 4/ A crane truck makes 5./ And here come more!”) rather than amplifying the mood so vividly established in Cyrus’s (The Voyage of Turtle Rex) generously scaled and cinematically composed street scenes. It’s his portrayal of the trucks as solid machines momentarily sidelined from their essential duties, along with the evocation of a neighborhood brought together by a benign “Didja ever...” moment, that makes the book feel inspired. It almost doesn’t need words at all. Ages 3–5. Illustrator’s agent: Michael Stearns, Upstart Crow Literary. (June)
Children's Literature - Lorraine Donohue Bonzelet
A boy, donning his helmet and riding his bicycle, experiences a truck lover's dream that is also a truck driver's nightmare. An ice cream truck gets stuck in the middle of the street on a small road and causes nineteen other trucks get stuck behind it. The boy observes the situation and recommends a solution. When his advice is not heard, he realizes, "No one hears the words I say. I'm too small. Just in the way." But he is not deterred. Instead, he stands in the middle of the crowd and speaks louder. This book encourages children to be observant and persistent as problem solvers. The story contains short, rhythmic sentences, making it a perfect read-aloud. It includes the numbers one to twenty, which facilitate counting. The sentences in the front of the book contain numbers in numeric representation. The sentences at the end of the book contain numbers one through six in written form. The large book size and life-like, colorful illustrations make it an ideal book for the classroom. Children will enjoy the variety of trucks, such as pickups, mail, delivery, cement, garbage and gasoline. Although the trucks are the main attraction, the surrounding illustrations are well done, like the rooftop garden, the lady carrying a dog in her baby pouch, the diversity of the gathering crowd, the up-close view of the crane driver closing his eyes and awaiting a solution, and the pink balloon that gets released into the air. This is an obvious choice for most boys, however the book's message and illustrations will likely capture the attention of girls as well. Reviewer: Lorraine Donohue Bonzelet
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—This counting book presents a traffic tie-up of the proportion that will delight young children, especially those with a passion for trucks. A broken-down ice-cream truck is all it takes to bring the action to a standstill. Each page features one type of vehicle in all its glory, and there's even an aerial view that shows the entire neighborhood immobilized by the jam. Bold digital illustrations are crisp and sufficiently detailed to please those who have already acquired some knowledge of the topic. The use of concentrated color and minimal white space will also appeal to young listeners, who will identify with the young hero who gets everyone out of the mess. His idea is to use the crane to lift all the other vehicles and send them on their way. Of course, the disabled ice-cream truck will have to remain-a perfect reward. Counting books in verse are plentiful, but this one stands out. The words roll off the tongue, a good thing, as children will demand to hear it again and again.—Gloria Koster, West School, New Canaan, CT
Kirkus Reviews
When an ice cream truck breaks down, a truck traffic jam ensues: the perfect attraction for the vehicle-obsessed in this captivating counting book. From cement mixer to garbage truck, the trucks pile up--and so does the crowd--as a young bicyclist names and numbers the vehicles in rhyming text. "I start to count each truck I see. / First 1, then 2, and now there are 3." The use of numerals in the text encourages number recognition and creates a matching game, while spelled numbers are used when appropriate. The yellow-helmeted boy weaves through the action until the solution is clear: the crane truck! His idea saves the day, and with traffic flowing once more, all ends on a deliciously sweet note. Digital illustrations done in a muted pastel palette present an amiable city block as Cyrus takes readers on a cinematic tour of the locale. His strength is in how he uses the boy's point of view to expand readers' understanding of the environment, allowing both character and readers to find an answer to the problem. Various perspectives capture the imagination, but the trucks are the real stars of the show. Truck-lovers will beg for repeat reads, with little ones "reading along" from memory. (Picture book. 3-5)
From the Publisher
The large format, bouncy rhyme and increasing mayhem all answer the energetic child's desire for things to be big and loud. However, the book subtly focuses the attention, too, as its captivating illustrations invite careful "reading."

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 11.50(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Mark Lee is a highly regarded poet, playwright, journalist, and author of novels for adults, including The Lost Tribe and The Canal House. This is his first book for children. He lives in New York City.

Kurt Cyrus is the author-illustrator of numerous picture books and has illustrated titles for such authors as Eve Bunting, Lisa Wheeler, and M. T. Anderson. He lives in Cottage Grove, Oregon.

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Twenty Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
SueBee55SB 10 months ago
We recently discovered this book at the library, and our 3 1/2 year old grandson loves it so much, I bought a copy for him to keep. He also named the little boy after himself, and we never run out of things to talk about on each page. He loves this book!
Mom_of_Twins12 More than 1 year ago
Our little guy is two and loves trucks. We have a houseful of books and read daily to him and his sister--but he insists on this one first at every sitting. He loves naming the trucks, seeing how the dilemma unfolds, and finding the little boy on each page (whom he's named for himself). Plus it's a great lesson in collaboration!
AnnaCatherineS More than 1 year ago
My two-year-old son loves trucks, so naturally loves this book. He asked me to read it to him again and again when he received it from St. Nick!