Elem – If You Were a Garbage Truck or Other Big-Wheeled Worker!

Ohanesian, Diane C. If You Were a Garbage Truck or Other Big-Wheeled Worker! Random House Studio, 2022. 978-0-593-37515-0. 32 p. $17.99. Grades K-2. 

Young readers get to imagine life from the perspective of ten different big-wheeled workers in this colorful rhyming story. The upbeat text puts a positive spin on the tough jobs these vehicles do each day, subtly encouraging readers to look on the sunny side too. Rather than focusing on the troubling parts of their jobs – trains traveling the same tracks day in and day out, fire trucks constantly being on-call, garbage trucks filling with smelly trash – this title’s rhyming verses put a positive spin on the important work each of these big-wheeled workers do each day. Trains are reliable transportation for many people, fire trucks always do the best work they can in emergency situations, and garbage trucks keep our towns and our planet clean. Every double-page spread features full-bleed, large-scale illustrations that capture each vehicle’s impressive size and the important work they’re built to do. In one scene, a tough-looking snow plow clears the pavement on a wintry afternoon. Another scene highlights a mail truck delivering all kinds of letters to a neighborhood. Bright colors, anthropomorphized vehicles, and a diverse cast of human characters help this title feel fresh and inclusive. 

THOUGHTS: Share this title with big truck enthusiasts and with teachers who focus on community helpers. It might also be useful for guidance counselors since it highlights themes of resilience, teamwork, and having a positive outlook. 

Picture Book          Anne Bozievich, Southern York County SD

Elem. – Time for School, Little Blue Truck

Schertle, Alice. Time for School, Little Blue Truck. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021. 978-0-358-41224-3. Unpaged. $16.91. Grades PreK-2. 

Little Blue Truck envies the big yellow school bus when he sees it carry his friends to school. The school bus kindly reminds Little Blue Truck that he’s not big enough for the job, but Little Blue Truck decides to prove the school bus wrong when he sees Piggy distraught on the side of the road. Little Blue offers to help since Piggy overslept, and they take a bumpy shortcut that ends up beating the school bus. Good job, Little Blue! Another fun tale about Little Blue Truck whose adventures never take him too far from home but prove that he’s always there for a friend. A great back-to-school story!

THOUGHTS: A fun rhyming read aloud at back to school time.

Picture Book          Lindsey Long, Lower Dauphin SD

Elem. – 20 Big Trucks in the Middle of Christmas

Lee, Mark. 20 Big Trucks in the Middle of Christmas. Candlewick Press, 2021. 978-1-5362-1253-2. Unpaged. $17.99. Grades PreK-2. 

Perfect for the truck lovers in your library, 20 Big Trucks in the Middle of Christmas combines boom trucks, fire trucks, flatbeds, and more with the magic of the holiday season. Two children watch the goings-on in their town on a cold, snowy day. A doughnut truck arrives in the town center, followed by several trucks clearing roads, bringing a Christmas tree and decorations, trucks to help set up and decorate the town, and a few final vehicles to bring extra Christmas spirit. Mark Lee tells a simple rhyming story that pairs nicely with Kurt Cyrus’s colorful, clean illustrations. All the trucks are named and many are shown in use. My son, a major truck fan, will love this one! 

THOUGHTS: Perfect holiday fare for lovers of trucks and Lee’s first 20 Trucks story. 

Picture Book          Lindsey Long, Lower Dauphin SD

New Picture Books – Little Red’s Riding ‘Hood; Sleeping Cinderella…; There’s No Such Thing as Little; I Will Fight Monsters for You

Little Red's Riding 'Hood

Stein, Peter. Little Red’s Riding ‘Hood. New York: Orchard Books, 2015. 978-0-545-60969-2. 40p. $16.99. Gr. K–2.

Little Red is a scooter who loves racing around the streets in his neighborhood. After learning that Granny Putt Putt is feeling run-down, he rides over to her garage to deliver some goodies that will get her back in working order. Along the way, he encounters a huge monster truck named Tank who diverts his trip. As Little Red makes a pit stop to pick up additional items for Granny’s basket, Tank zooms ahead to Granny’s house, bursts through her garage door, and swallows her whole. Although Tank disguises himself with a frilly car cover, Little Red’s caution lights flash when he arrives at Granny’s garage. He closely examines “Granny’s” wheels, headlights, and grille before Tank throws off the disguise and attempts to have some scooter dessert. Little Red is too quick, though, and he leads Tank on a high-speed chase that culminates in Tank’s crash-landing in Jumbo Jim’s Junkyard. Granny pops out of Tank’s hood, and she thanks Little Red for being the bravest scooter in town.

Picture Book              Anne Bozievich, Friendship Elementary, Southern York Co.

This fractured fairy tale will be a great addition to most elementary collections. Car fans will enjoy watching Little Red scoot around town, and they will pick up on details like Tank’s pointy fangs and yellow wolf-like eyes. I plan to share this title with third grade teachers as they introduce fairy tale variations because this title has a lot of great parallels to the traditional Red Riding Hood story, making it great for comparing and contrasting.




Clarkson, Stephanie. Sleeping Cinderella and Other Princess Mix-Ups. New York: Orchard Books, 2015. 978-0-545-56564-6 34p. Gr. K-3.

Did you ever wonder if a princess was dissatisfied with her life? Clarkson does, and her clever humor and rhyming text explain what happens. Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, and Sleeping Beauty are all a bit unhappy with their various surrounding and situations. One by one, the princesses trade places. Snow White moves in to Rapunzel’s tower; Rapunzel heads to Cinderella’s ball; the latter rests in Sleeping Beauty’s bed who then heads to Snow White’s cottage. Of course, none of these new options work out to be for the better, and they do eventually return to their original “stories.” However, they have each learned some lessons along the way and make improvements to their situations. (For example, Snow gets the dwarves to help with the housework!)

While the lesson of “the grass is always greener…” may be lost on younger readers, the cute text and illustrations will not. The rhyming text is lyrical, not forced, and the word choice is interesting, making it a somewhat more complex read than found in simpler rhyming texts. The prevalence of pink and princess characters will engage Disney fans, but the quirky style will also appear to older elementary grades. A great addition to a fractured fairy tale unit!

Picture Book      Lisa Weiss, Churchville Elementary School




Pham, LeUyen. There’s No Such Thing as Little. New York: Alfred A Knopf, 2015. 978-0-385-39151-1. 44 p. $17.99. Gr. PreK-2.

Two little children repeatedly prove that size is a state of mind, and perspective in this thoughtful little book. The pattern is simple, with a question on one page about something small which turns into a piece of something much grander with the refute on the next page. Die-cut circles draw the observer through the pages and connect the text to the picture for interpretation. For example, a little light bulb idea is part of a grand invention; likewise, a little letter becomes an important letter for literature. There will be interesting dialogue as younger readers make meaning of the story and then seek to apply it. “A little book? No, a BIG book!” THOUGHTS: This is tough to make a perfect age level fit because the characters are pre-school age, but the thoughts and skills to decipher the text may be more suited to elementary. Still, it’s a worthy purchase for read aloud use or solo book selection.

Picture Book            Dustin Brackbill, State College Area 




Balmes, Santi. I Will Fight Monsters for You. Chicago: Albert Whitman & Co., 2015. 978-0807590560. 32p. $16.99. Gr. K-2.

Martina, a little girl, and Anitram live in mirrored worlds. Both are afraid to fall asleep for fear of the other. When Martina’s father promises that he will fight the monsters for her, Martina finally drifts off to sleep. As her arm hangs off the bed and accidentally joins that of the little monster below, they suddenly overcome their fears.  THOUGHTS: Illustrations are a black ink with a soothing pastel palette of pink and blue. Perfect for one-on-one or could be used as a read aloud.

Picture Book        Robin Bartley, Davis Elementary