cover image The Blue Pickup

The Blue Pickup

Natasha Tripplett, illus. by Monica Mikai. HarperCollins, $19.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-315987-7

In a Jamaica-cued coastal setting, a child happily describes assisting her grandfather in his garage: “I help him fix radiators, switch out batteries, and even change a car’s oil. But my favorite thing to do is organize the socket wrench set.” As the two take a break to drink cold Ting in the bed of Granddad’s old broken-down pickup, he regales the narrating protagonist, whom he affectionately calls Ju-Girl, of his adventures making deliveries in the truck—memories that appear illustrated alongside the duo. After the child suggests that Granddad fix up the truck, and he does, the two take a picturesque drive to a high street and back home. And when the truck gives a shudder en route, Ju-Girl comes to the rescue with a socket wrench that Granddad had engraved just for her (“I fit the socket onto the bolt and tighten it. I tighten the other one just in case”). Boldly colorful art by Mikai (Thank a Farmer) captures Caribbean life in backgrounds that overflow with abundant greenery. Tripplett’s debut is an affectionate intergenerational story about “the importance of taking care of old and forgotten things” as well as learning “just the right tools” to move forward. An author’s note follows. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Christy Ewers, CAT Agency. (Feb.)