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Little Blue Truck board book Board book – July 7, 2015
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About the Author
JILL MCELMURRY is the celebrated illustrator of Our Nest by Reeve Lindbergh as well as her own Mad About Plaid and I'm NOT a Baby! She lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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There's one section of text I don't read to her though, and I don't really like to be honest. There's a "bad guy" truck that gets stuck in the mud, calls for help, and is coldly ignored by the animals. "Help! cried the Dump, and he sounded scared. But nobody heard (or nobody cared)."
Sure, the little blue truck cares and then bumps along and helps him out. It makes the story seem okay from a mature perspective. But from a little person's perspective? I'd rather that she not worry why a busy, unfriendly truck (or kid) might be left stranded when they are scared and call for help. So we skip that part! I'm still trying to come up with alternative text there--if anyone has suggestions, please share.
The themes of the book teach the importance of being kind and courteous to everybody as well as helping someone in need even if they don't always deserve it. When the Dump truck, who is the antagonist in the story, becomes stuck in thick mud, no one is willing to help him. "Honk!" cried the Dump, and he sounded scared, but nobody heard ( or nobody cared). ( Schertle 13) The animals on this page are drawn in a way that shows that they have indeed heard the Dumps cries but are unwilling to help after previously being ignored and spoken to rudely. However, there is one Little Blue Truck, the protagonist in the story, who comes driving up to help anyway. After the Little Blue Truck comes rolling up all the animals then come to help their friend who is now the one in need. It is with the many hands, or in this case heads and rumps that finally push both the Little Blue Truck and the Dump free. A powerful message to kids everywhere. Another message that is conveyed, that is one of my favorites included in the story, involves the final animal the "big green toad." Now the big green toad is an oxymoron because the toad may be big in comparison to other toads, but is the smallest animal in the story. Jill McElmurry paints the toad with big bulging muscles and a smug, gleaming smile showing that even the smallest creature has the strength to pitch in and be of use. The next page shows the big green toad standing,as if having exerted no energy while the other animals look tired and frazzled at having just freed the two vehicles. I believe it is a nice message to show children that you are never too small to help out and offers some comic relief to the falling action.
I personally like all the changes in the text format throughout the book. It provides emphasis on certain aspects and characters. For example the biggest personality the Dump honks when he makes his debut in the book. The word, “Honk” on page 9 is the biggest word in the entire book showing both the strength, size and loudness of a dump truck. When the Dump enters the story he says,”Coming though! I've big important things to do! I haven't got time to pass the day with every duck along the way!” (Schertle 9) In fact everything the Dump as to say gets put into a larger font to emphasis this point and also creates a picture of an antagonist. Another great example of text change are the words “bump, bump, bump” on page 15 they are curving upwards and downwards as if to show the truck traversing the bumps. It gives the book personality and whimsy.
Finally, I would like to state how much I enjoy the illustrations of this book. The pictures are all painted in somewhat muted tones that are pleasing to the eye. The pictures follow along with the story very well, the best being the sky. You can follow the changes in the tone with the changes in the sky. The sky begins with a rising sun but soon changes to rain as the Dump makes his debut and is darkened while he is stuck. The storm clears however after the trucks are set free. This part may not be something that a child would notice, or notice right away but it is one of the reason that I do enjoy this book so much.
If you are looking for a great children's book, this would be my top pick for recommendation for its story, message and pictures. It is a wonderful reading experience.
by Alice Schertle, Jill McElmurry
I know that I don’t normally do reviews on children’s books, but this Christmas I came across a book that has taken our house by storm. Little Blue Truck is a story about a friendly little blue pick up truck and a big yellow dump truck, along with a few barnyard animals. None of the characters are really big on long speeches and even big on words. Each of the animals know what they say, the little blue truck says “Beep”, and the big Dump says “HONK”. But what is most important is that they have a lot to say about how to treat other people in kindness, through action.
As an adult, I can talk all day about a children’s book, but I had two young readers at Christmas that provided me with a review that I could not have otherwise imagined.
Reader One – Dakota, age two.
When I first found this book, I bought it for my young nephew who I had never met. He is a shy two year old and a man of very few words. After reading through the book, I loved the story and loved the bright illustrations that filled the pages with life that a pre-schooler can comprehend. The day I introduced Dakota to Little Blue Truck, his doe eyes widen with the reading of the first page. The normally silent young man immediately started to repeat the sounds that Little Blue made and turned to his dad saying “Azul, Azul”, pointing at the truck. (Oh yes, even though he is the silent type, he is also bi-lingual.) His dad looked over Dakota’s head with tears in his eyes. It was Dakota who later pointed out to us that it was raining on the page when he kept pointing at the page and saying “agua.” By the end of the day, we had managed to read through Little Blue Truck four or five times, with all the sound effects and with much giggling. He had a new friend and a new aunt, both were wonderful things in my eyes.
Reader Two – William, age fourteen months.
After the wonderful experience with Dakota, I decided to buy Little Blue Truck, again, for our young grandson for Christmas. Christmas morning the living room was all awash with paper, ribbon, boxes and toys. When the box with Little Blue Truck was opened, William happened to be sitting in my lap, “JOY”. I immediately opened the book to show it to him while waiting for his next gift. Once again, the eyes opened wide with the opening lines and sounds of the first page. “little blue truck goes BEEP.” He looked at me, smiled and said “Bip”. I knew he was hooked. He sat mesmerized all the way through the book. When I got to the page where the big dump truck came through with a “HONK!!!” He laughed, and tried his best to honk, and made me repeat it several times. He loves his dump truck. All the way to the end of the book, he followed Blue and Dump, then flipped the book back to the beginning.
More presents came along, but he kept coming back to Little Blue Truck.
Now weeks later, Little Blue Truck still comes out several times a day to be read. It has become his favorite book.
Kevin, William’s four year old brother loves the book almost as much as his younger brother. I ran across a floor sized copy of the book and got it for Kevin, who loves the book very much and enjoys the huge pages.
I would recommend this book for any person wishing to entice their young toddler with a book. The focus is on sounds, but has a wonderful, simple story of kindness and taking care of your friends. The language is straight forward and is not lost on the young reader.
Our entire family awards this book SEVEN stars out of FIVE stars.