20 Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street

illus. by Kurt Cyrus. 32p. Candlewick. 2013. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-5809-0. LC 2012943654.
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
In a lively picture book multitasking as a counting book, a truck book, and an ice-cream wish-fulfillment story, a young boy on a bike tells what happens when an ice-cream truck breaks down, blocking his street. A mail truck shows up and wants to get by, soon followed by a parade of other trucks -- delivery trucks, a crane, a truck carrying squealing pigs. The rhyming text provides commentary for sorting out the entertaining traffic jam in the double-page spreads done in clean, bright digital art: "I start to count each truck I see. / First 1, then 2, and now there are 3." As the crisis progresses, readers get to view the truck showcase from a variety of perspectives, from close-up to aerial. The illustrations themselves contain small entertaining details to follow from page to page -- a dog in a baby carrier, a girl who loses her balloon. When there are twenty trucks piled up, the boy concocts the ultimate solution, which involves the crane, clears the traffic, and means the boy can finally enjoy some (well-deserved) ice cream. julie roach

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