cover image Elbow Grease

Elbow Grease

John Cena, illus. by Howard McWilliam. Random House, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5247-7350-2

In his children’s book debut, professional wrestler Cena kicks off a series about a family of monster trucks. Elbow Grease—’Bo for short—is the smallest truck in the entire Demolition Derby, and he has a battery that needs to be recharged daily. When the gumptious little blue monster truck decides he’s all in for the big win, he’s far away from the nearest plug. It would take a miracle to save the day at the big rally—but maybe a bolt from the blue will suffice? Cena hits the positivity and self-esteem messages too squarely (“He always tried his best and never, ever gave up”; “If you only stick with what you’re good at, you’ll never learn anything”), but jaunty back-and-forth banter among the brothers should please boisterous truck enthusiasts. McWilliams’s detailed characters appeal without being overly cutesy—readers can see every groove in those humongous tires. Ages 3–7. [em](Oct.) [/em]