Review of Puppy Truck

Puppy Truck
by Brian Pinkney; illus. by the author
Preschool    Atheneum    40 pp.
6/19    978-1-5344-2687-0    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2688-7    $10.99

What’s a kid to do when he wants a puppy but receives a toy truck instead? Carter cheerfully and enterprisingly makes the best of it by pretending (or is he?) that the truck is a puppy. He begins by taking his toy on a walk to the park. Once there, though, the truck gets off leash and chases a squirrel (“vroom beep bark!”). Carter has a moment of anxiety when he loses sight of his pet, but a girl on a park bench points out the mischievous machine hiding behind a bush. It turns out she has her own toy vehicle (“vroom beep meow!”), and the next day, the four return to the park to play. Vibrant, saturated tones and swirling shapes, only semi-contained by thick black outlines, reflect the protagonist in motion and highlight the warmth and comfort of his (grownup-free) imaginary play. Creamy off-white pages set the mood, and little-to-no background detail keeps the focus on activity and emotion. The sound effects interspersed throughout the straightforward main text provide lots of opportunities to make both animal sounds and truck noises — a win-win for a large subset of preschoolers.

From the July/August 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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