cover image NUMBER 21


Nancy Hundal, , illus. by Brian Deines. . Fitzhenry & Whiteside, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-55041-543-8

A girl recalls the enchanted summer day when her father, who owns a fleet of trucks, brings home the eponymous, brand-new, "dazzling red" dump truck. Hundal (November Boots) begins a bit haltingly, yet soon picks up steam, while Deines's (Prairie Summer, also by Hundal) diffused-light acrylics create a testament to the simple pleasures of a hot, lazy afternoon. The truck becomes almost totemic in the eyes of the narrator and her siblings: as the girl approaches Number 21 for the first time, she says, "I slip forward to trace the parts of our phone number with my finger," her shy reverence captured in a spot illustration. In a surprise twist, Dad fills up the back of the dump truck with water from the garden hose, so "our wonderful truck is now a wonderful pool!" Deines first renders the pool with its reflected clouds and sky with a nod to Monet's serene lily ponds, then, on the next page, he shows the children gleefully shattering the mood as they splash, careen and cannonball through the once placid surface. The final two pages feel anticlimactic by comparison, but everything that comes before makes this a choice for truck fans everywhere. Ages 4-7. (May)