cover image Trash Trucks!

Trash Trucks!

Daniel Kirk. Putnam Publishing Group, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22927-5

Sesame Street's Oscar would be hard pressed to match the enthusiasm that Kirk (Lucky's 24-Hour Garage) shows for garbage collection. In this soaring lyric to litter, choreographed to the ""rattle!,"" ""batter!"" and ""crunch!"" of a summer morning, voracious garbage trucks drool after piles of debris. One yellow truck, with red-taillight eyes, zigzag jaws and a ""Stinko"" license plate, leads the charge: ""Here's one big hungry diesel beast/ chowing down his garbage feast."" Despite their insatiable hunger and gnashing chompers, the trash trucks do good work. Meanwhile, two kids named Kim and Pete haul plastic bags to a sidewalk as ""mighty muscled men"" do the heavy lifting. When Kim and Pete are threatened by a tidal wave of rubbish, three vehicles ""hurtle through a rain of junk/ and save the kids from harm!"" With a tongue-in-cheek tone in his art and his text, Kirk portrays the trucks as urban heroes, and his rhythmic rhyming tale has all the flash of a Broadway musical. Hand-printed text alongside seemingly disintegrating, oversize type adds to the pop-culture casual atmosphere, and the slickly stylized characters gesture theatrically. Every street corner is festooned with a collage of crumpled items--old-fashioned boxes of cake mix and milk cartons; broken tools and toys; canceled stamps; and, for a mildly gross effect, discarded food. Identifying the fragments becomes a game in itself. The only thing missing is a recycling truck to pick up all those newspapers, jars and cans... but otherwise Kirk makes the most of a noisy, smelly day. Ages 3-6. (May)