“Trucks” by Byron Barton

My reviews are going to be out of chronological order for at least a bit, by the way.  Maybe indefinitely.  My tot got hold of my notebook a few weeks ago while I was doing business on the phone, and I made the executive decision that tearing out all the pages was a sufficiently not-life-endangering activity to let it slide until I wasn’t trying to hear a soft-spoken bureaucrat who had left me on hold long enough already.  So now I am typing stuff up as I find it.

I am oddly fond of this book’s illustrations. They are chunky and simplistic and not my usual thing at all, and somehow they trigger the “epicness of ancient Rome” switch in my brain. Not sure why – maybe the arches on the tunnels on the third spread? Maybe some deep-seated random belief that I am living in a world that may see the decline and fall of the Truck Era?

Library book for us so far rather than a keeper, and likely to remain that way, but a pretty decent Obligatory Vehicle Book. If I had a kiddo that fell in love with it or was All About The Trucks, I think I’d be pretty OK about shelling out for it and reading it a kabillion times. Text is extremely basic, but not obnoxiously so in my opinion, and sometimes super-basic has more staying power than trying too hard to be clever.  It’s basically one simple sentence per spread, stating whatever the [insert kind of truck here] is doing, with a conclusion that trucks work hard.

The accuracy of my counts on race and gender are hampered by a Very Helpful toddler, but I’m seeing about a 50/50 split between light-skinned people and POC. I think there’s one extra light-skinned person out of about a dozen of both – literally almost every page has one of each.

Almost everyone (especially everyone working) is probably male, though. We have one obviously female-presenting ice cream truck customer. And a couple of slightly ambigiously gendered people (who, let’s be real, are almost certainly intended to be male). The pictures are basic enough that there’s no reason more of the workers couldn’t be interpreted as women. There are no pronouns for the workers in the text (which is all about the trucks), so if a parent wanted to mix up pronouns while discussing the pictures or something, they could. But yeah, it’s a stretch.

If there had been a bit more gender diversity, we might already own this alongside Sally Sutton’s awesome Roadwork. (I’ll come back here and link the Roadwork review after I get around to that.) But there isn’t, so we don’t.

Edit: Oh, I forgot the pub info and link to somewhere you can actually see a cover, since I’m too lazy to figure out how to link images here.  It’s a Harperfestival book from 1998.  http://www.harpercollins.com/books/9780694011643


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