A Fire Truck Named Red

illus. by Bob Staake. 40p. Farrar. May 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374300739.
PreS-Gr 2—Everyone has experienced the disappointment of a well-meant gift that misses the mark. On Rowan's birthday, his grandfather gives him Red, his own well-loved fire truck—not the shiny new one the boy coveted from the toy store. But as Papa shares his experiences of childhood imaginative play, Rowan is drawn into the adventure and realizes that no other fire truck can take the place of Red. Computer-generated geometric illustrations, both bulbous and angular (with remarkably expressive faces), set the scene. Red shows up as a photograph of an ancient and worn toy truck, collaged into the narrative. Papa's memories, in a sepia-tone page-within-a-page format, allow for visual differentiation of setting. And there is a charming illustration of Rowan leaping into a memory to share the fun. Even small children know the magic of a special toy, however drawn they are to the new, and who doesn't like a fire truck story?
VERDICT A warm addition to transportation shelves.

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