On the Go Awesome

Knopf. Nov. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781984852342.
PreS-Gr 1–Detlefsen and Neubecker’s ode to moving vehicles breaks no new ground but will likely appeal to small vehicle fans everywhere. There is no plot. It is a series of observations and superlatives of fantasy experiences piloting various vehicles: “Trains are cool./Watching a train is very cool./But conducting a train through the mountains?/Chugga Chugga Awesome!” And so it goes through diggers, planes, subways, boats, monster trucks, rockets, and finally a camper, which begs the question: “Wait! Are campers cool?” Apparently they are, but “traveling across with your family…Now THAT’S awesome!” Detlefsen plays with different superlatives, adjectives, and onomatopoeic words to get her point across, and while some of the choices are unusual, the use of varied vocabulary is welcome. The illustrations, created digitally with watercolor and pencil, are full bleed and use page turns effectively. A set of facing illustrations depicts watching, then riding; then comes a spread with the child piloting, and the words in huge, curved letters. The protagonist and his family are light-skinned, but others in the illustrations are of various skin tones. The large, bright illustrations are eye-catching and will work equally well one-on-one or in a group read-aloud.
VERDICT A pleasant additional purchase to expand collections on this perennially popular topic.

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