Book review: Tow Truck Joe, by June Sobel, illustrated by Patrick Corrigan

Sobel, June. Tow Truck Joe. Illustrated by Patrick Corrigan. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019. Unpaged.  $17.99. ISBN 9780358053125. Ages 4-8. Q7P8

Welcome to Drivedale, a town of colorful anthropomorphic cars and trucks that live happily together as they zoom around town. That is until a crash between a milk truck and a cookie cart bring traffic to a standstill. Tow Truck Joe knows just what to do, and several others jump in to help including the cement mixer, the bulldozer, and the grocery truck. In addition to all the vehicles, Tow Truck Joe’s pup, Patch, a kitty who comes to lap up the spilled milk, and a cookie loving pigeon are also featured in the story. Together they all pitch in to keep the town running smoothly.

Verdict: This rhyming picture book will be a favorite at the library and in young classrooms. A great book for story time, it is even better read one on one when time can be spent looking at all the puns featured on town billboards and signs. With a theme of teamwork, it is a great book for little ears.

October 2019 review by Denyse Marsh.

Book review: Little Taco Truck, by Tanya Valentine, illustrated by Jorge Martin

Valentine, Tanya. Little Taco Truck. Illus. by Jorge Martin. Schwartz & Wade, 2019. $16.99. unp. ISBN 978-1-5247-6585-9. Ages 4-7. P9Q9

Little Taco Truck has a profitable and happy life selling his food to workers building high rises in the city until he is slowly crowded out by other trucks selling a variety of ethnic food. Miss Falafel came first, followed by Jumbo Gumbo and then Annie’s Arepas. With no place left for him, Little Taco Truck plans to arrive in the night and claim his spot. The other trucks apologize for crowding him out and even make room for Oodles of Noodles the next day. The glossary defines six types of food on the trucks.

Verdict: The theme of accepting different ethnic groups is gloriously illustrated by bright digital colors that demonstrate the trucks’ different personalities, and the representation of the workers as different animal species gives a quirky touch to the plot.

January 2019 review by Nel Ward.

Book review: Small Walt and Mo the Tow, by Elizabeth Verdick, pictures by Marc Rosenthal

Verdick, Elizabeth. Small Walt and Mo the Tow. Pictures by Marc Rosenthal. “A Paula Wiseman Book.” Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018. $17.99. ISBN 9781481466608. Unpaged. Ages 4-8. P6 Q7

When a green car veers of the road and slides down a snowy embankment, landing in a ditch, Walt wants to rescue it. However, he is not able to do it alone. Gus, his driver, calls Mo and his driver Sue to help get the green car out of the ditch. Whimsical motor noises and repetitious texts make this story engaging. Characters including different ethnic groups along with a female as the tow truck’s driver makes this story inclusive. This is Small Walt and his driver, Gus’s second adventure. An eBook edition is available. Even though it is the second book in the series, it can stand alone. Readers will enjoy characters from the first book along with a few new characters, winter scenes, and retro illustrations.

Verdict: Verdick combines team work and perseverance to show children that we need others to help us at times. Children who like trucks will enjoy this book, however with the retro feel, it may not be as popular as other books.

November 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: The Little Ice Cream Truck, by Margery Cuyler, illustrated by Bob Kolar

Cuyler, Margery. The Little Ice Cream Truck. Illustrated by Bob Kolar. (Little Vehicle series). Christy Ottaviono Books/Henry Holt and Company, 2018. $14.99. ISBN 9781627798068. Unpaged. Ages 3-6. P8 Q8

Everyone loves the ice cream truck! This ice cream truck is headed for the zoo. Told from the perspective of the ice cream truck, each page starts with, “I’m a little ice cream truck” and has a rhythm that accompanies the text.  The main job of the ice cream truck is to make children happy, which is evident in all the ice cream truck does. The illustrations show racially diverse children interacting and being excited about getting ice cream from the ice cream truck. The pages are thick and high quality. The end pages show colorful ice cream treats. Book 4 in the Little Vehicle series.

Verdict: Colorful and fun from the cover to the end pages, the Little Ice Cream truck enjoys giving children ice cream. This book evokes a feeling of celebration and ice cream! I highly recommend this book for young children.

September 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Truckeroo School, by David Kirk

Kirk, David. Truckeroo School. Feiwel and Friends, 2017. $17.99. ISBN 9781250016904. Unpaged. Ages 3-6. P7 Q7

From the creator of bestselling Miss Spider’s Tea Party comes this colorful book about monsters and trucks matching up, learning the rules of the road, and most importantly, learning how to take care of each other. With its big, bright, and colorful illustrations, this action-packed book will entertain young children.

Verdict: Children who like trucks, adventures and monsters will like this book. This book will be a good addition to public libraries and elementary school libraries.

December 2017 review by Tami Harris


Book review: The Mixed-Up Truck, by Stephen Savage

Savage, Stephen. The Mixed-Up Truck. Roaring Brook Press, 2016. $16.99. ISBN 978162672153-1. 32 pages. Ages preschool-kindergarten.  P7 Q7

On the first day at a new job, a cheerful cement mixer wants to work, so it mixes flour to make cement. The flour makes a cake. The cement mixer tries again, this time using sugar. It made frosting. Finally, the cement mixer uses cement to make a building. On the last page, the cement mixer mixes soap and creates a bubble bath! The cement mixer makes mistakes on the first day of work, but it does not give up and the mistakes turn out for good. The illustrations for the book were created using digital techniques.

Verdict: The message of the story is try and do not give up. Mistakes can turn out for good. This book has very simple, playful illustrations. The book is good for young children. There are not of details, but it is a fun book. I recommend the book for preschool classroom libraries.

December 2016 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Troto and the Trucks, by Uri Shulevitz

Shulevitz, Uri. Troto and the Trucks. Margaret Ferguson Books/Farrar Straus Giroux, 2015. ISBN 978-0-374-30080-7. 25 pgs. Ages 2-4. P8/Q7

Shulevitz Troto and the TrucksThe trucks and cars in this story have big bulging eyes in appealing illustrations that make this a inviting story.  The big trucks are bullying little Troto a “bug on wheels.”  The trucks told little Troto to meet them and have a race at high noon.  The trucks were no longer laughing when little Troto saves the day by helping the stranded racers.  In the end the trucks were not laughing at Troto but were thanking him.  This is a fun story about bullying, helping and being the best you can be.

October 2015 review by Melinda Dye.