By Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Melissa Iwai
Recently I was at a local elementary school doing a story hour for Pre K and Kindergarten classes when a youngster raised his hand and said something to this effect, “ I love trucks!” “Can we have a story hour with a book about TRUCKS?” I promised that I would deliver. But it got me to thinking. How many of the readers out there are also fascinated by the proverbial “wheels on the truck” as they go round and round all over town and what do they do? So, as I make good on my promise to that young reader, I came up with a list of some suggestions for you too!
I would be remiss if I did not mention three early favorites on the subject which would be “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel” and “Katy and the Big Snow”, two wonderful books by Virginia Lee Burton plus “Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things that Go” by Richard Scarry. They are classics!
However, books on trucks continue to be favorites for kids today. It’s a subject that continues to build interest among kids. Who operates them and what do they do, and where do they stay when not at work are questions that interest young readers and as a result they interest me too. Here is a list of some books to start with, that answer many of these questions and more.
“Truck Driver Tom” – Monica Wellington
“All Aboard Fire Trucks” – Teddy Slater
“Construction Trucks” – Jennifer Dussling, illustrations by Courtney
“Red Truck” – Kersten Hamilton, illustrations by Valeria Petrone
I, of course have to mention the book I’ve chosen to read to the kids at our next story hour. I always keep my promises. It’s called “Truck Stop” by Anne Rockwell, with illustrations by Melissa Iwai. Say, where do trucks of all kinds go for R and R while on the road? We’ve all been to them as we’ve traveled by car on vacation. Why the ubiquitous truck stop, of course. But, can you imagine OWNING a small diner right beside the main highway? Along with mom, dad and Uncle Marty, the young voice of “Truck Stop” helps things hum along smoothly as he rises at predawn to open up with his parents. Can’t you just see those semis rolling into the stop at early morning with their lights still on? Eighteen-wheelers are the first to arrive and they may need a quick fill of diesel and a tire check. Uncle Marty is on it. Milk tank is up next. Yes, even the cows need a deliveryman too, via a sleek silver tanker truck. Maisie, its driver, wants coffee and doughnuts, unlike Sam of the eighteen-wheeler who prefers bacon and eggs over easy and a cup of coffee, natch. Women do operate all kinds of trucks too!
Moving vans, old green pickups, flatbeds, tow trucks and yes even the school bus stops at the truck stop to pick up the youngster who helps the family start the family-run truck stop.
Kids will love this book because one of their own is at its heart as it delivers the feel and rhythm of the roadside truck stop. And it has the realistic perception of a family within a larger one in the people whose lives interweave on a daily basis of needs met and fulfilled. The notion of interdependence is easily felt here. I liked that.
Next time you see that big neon sign at a truck stop beaming “Yes! We are Open” like the one in “Truck Stop”, I hope it’s family run and as nice as the one here. The doughnuts sure look mighty fresh, the coffee’s always hot and Uncle Marty is a sweetie! Can’t wait to introduce my young readers to “Truck Stop”!
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