The Grumpy Dump Truck

Brie Spangler, Author . Knopf $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-85839-0

Dump truck Bertrand wears a permanent scowl. He kvetches (“This dirt is too HEAVY!”) and treats his co-workers with contempt (“He was rude to the backhoe. And he was a real pain to the crane”). But an accidental encounter with a sweet-natured porcupine construction worker named Tilly reveals that Bertrand isn’t misanthropic after all—he’s just got a toolbox of pain-causing items caught in his treads (“Oh, owie-ow! I can’t believe you did that!” Bertrand yells as the porcupine removes a wrench, screwdriver, hammer, traffic cone and other items from his tire). In her sophomore outing, Spangler’s (Peg Leg Peke ) bright digital cartooning can border on amateurish, and her wrapup and Bertrand’s total 180 (“I want to do something NICE!”) are so patly sunny that they take away much of the fun of the preceding pages. But she knows how to create a compelling comic antihero (Bertrand’s apostrophe-like eyebrows are particularly expressive, while his whininess should prompt chuckles of recognition), and her narrative never slackens. Ages 3–6. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/22/2009
Release date: 07/01/2009
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 40 pages - 978-0-375-95839-7
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