From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2–Gordon's third tricked-up automotive interpretation of a familiar children's tale is Grimm with a gimmick: Hansel and Diesel are sibling pickup trucks (so the text reads, though they're pictured as flatbeds) who wander from their junkyard home in search of fuel (trailing bolts in lieu of bread crumbs) and into the clutches of the Wicked Winch. She lives in the most beautiful gas station they could have imagined…right in the middle of the junkyard! When the thirsty little vehicles help themselves to deep glugs of her warm gasoline, the Winch inquires, Guzzle, guzzle, drip and drool, who is drinking all my fuel? The little ones are saved from the jaws of her ominous metal shredder by their worried parents, who push the winch to her just reward and admonish their evilly gleeful-looking kids: Don't you ever leave home and scare us like that again! The junkyard-as-forest is effectively rendered, with bleak towers of snow-covered tires giving readers an idea of the relative diminutiveness of the duo, and the candy-land confection of a gas station is an able stand-in for the classic house of bread and cakes. Among the missing are the familial tensions that serve as the original story's energy source, and the girl-power rescue that makes quick-thinking Gretel a particular favorite. Fans of Gordon's The Ugly Truckling
(2004) and The Three Little Rigs
(2005, both HarperCollins)–which put in shameless-self-promotion cameo appearances here–will probably overlook what's lacking, but others may want to stick with something closer to the original.–Kathy Krasniewicz, Perrot Library, Old Greenwich, CT
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PreS-K. The author of The Three Little Pigs
(2005) continues his series of mechanized fairy tales. This time he features Hansel and Gretel as two small trucks that venture out one cold, snowy night, looking for gas and dropping a trail of bolts to find their way home. A big, bright gas station is a lure, set up by the Wicked Winch, who attempts to drag the two little trucks into the crusher. The verve in Gordon's story comes from his illustrations, featuring a sharp contrast between the cutesy trucks making their way through a harsh expressionist landscape. Particularly effective is an overhead view of huge stacks of old tires in a grim, black-and-white setting, which is followed by a picture of a glowing art deco gas station against a very black background. At the end, the little trucks are rescued by their parents, and the Wicked Winch becomes scrap metal. Gordon offers plenty for young children to look at and enjoy. Todd MorningCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved