cover image Three Grumpy Trucks

Three Grumpy Trucks

Todd Tarpley, illus. by Guy Parker-Rees. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-34122-6

Three toy trucks are having a marvelous time at the playground, giving their all to a build. “Hours later,” they’re clearly hot and tired, and their owner, a young girl, says it’s time to go. In response, they delay (“Five more minutes! Let us stay! /Okay? Okay? OKAY?”) and delay, then have a collective meltdown (“They made an awful screeching sound./ They banged their bumpers on the ground”) and collapse into an exhausted, messy pile as children look on in dismay. Art may imitate life, but Tarpley (My Grandma’s a Ninja) and Parker-Rees (Giraffes Can’t Dance) aren’t here to say “gotcha.” They’re sympathetic to the toys and their owner, and show that with patience (the girl never loses her temper) and unconditional love (she hugs the trucks, cleans them up, and puts them to bed), the trucks will live to dig another day. The bright multimedia illustrations contain just enough of a sketchbook looseness to feel composed on the spot, while the rhyming text has the authentic ring of both a real-life tantrum and pretend construction: “WHOMMMMPPPP!” Ages 4–8. [em](Sept.) [/em]