cover image Troto and the Trucks

Troto and the Trucks

Uri Shulevitz. FSG/Ferguson, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-30080-7

Shulevitz (Dusk) tells an underdog story about a little green car that could. Troto—whose name presumably rhymes with auto—“liked to go places,” and one day he trundles past saguaros and boulders to the town of Cactusville. There he meets three oversize, unfriendly vehicles. A locomotive-shaped truck called Big Red taunts Troto, and the others follow suit: “ ‘It’s a bug on wheels,’ said Big Blue. ‘Careful, don’t step on it,’ said Big Yellow.” Troto challenges them to a race at high noon, through dusty Cactus Canyon, where one truck succumbs to a flat, another teeters off-balance, and the third catches its monster tires between rock walls. Victory enables Troto to “[drive] off into the sunset, casting a big shadow.” Shulevitz’s closing-curtain reference to a Hollywood Western suggests missed opportunities for development. Cactusville resembles a clapboard ghost town, with a lone “gas saloon” marquee but nary a soul (or car) in sight, and Troto’s triumph yields nothing more than a “Congratulations!” from his foes. Self-propelled, competition-minded machines are popular fare in books and film alike, but this slight tale gives no motivation for its drama. Ages 3–6. (May)