Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Picture Books
What did you like about the book? This book checks all the boxes for a story that will surely appeal to children — learning to be brave, helping others, and lots of cars and trucks! This story begins at a car manufacturing plant with all the brand new cars getting all cleaned and polished for delivery. The new cars are all eagerly lining up and driving onto transportation trucks–all except for Axle. He is nervous about driving and being transported to a new location. Unfortunately, the ride on the transportation truck (her name is Earlene) is not much better and Axle gets covered in soot and bugs. When it is time to unload, kind-hearted Earlene notices Axle’s reluctance and she decides to help him overcome his fears. She takes him to some secluded roads and Axle practices getting off the ramp, making left and right turns, going on open highways, and going up a large mountain. Once at the top of the mountain, Axle and Earlene enjoy the beautiful view of the vast countryside. Earlene then informs Axle that he now faces another challenge–going down the hill. This task proves to be a challenge for Earlene as she blows a tire and is forced to use a runaway truck ramp. Now Earlene needs Axle’s help and he goes off in search of a tow truck–all this time using his new-found skills. Earlene is rescued and safely transported. Now Axle is ready for any challenges that come his way.
I love the cute illustrations in this story because they really provide emotions and feelings to the cars and trucks–especially worried Axle and kind-hearted Earlene. The topic of being afraid is something that so many young children will be able to relate to and I love that this book has tackled this subject using cars and trucks. So many children will be able to understand the message in this story and relate that to their own lives.
Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing.
To whom would you recommend this book? This book is perfect for children between the ages of three and five years old. This is a time when many children might be starting preschool or kindergarten and this story might help them process their feelings about being afraid.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, preschools, daycare centers, anyone who works with children between the ages of two and five years old. This book would be great to use on the first day of school or any time an adult wants to discuss the concerns of starting something new and different.
Where would you shelve it? Picture Books
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, I feel you can never have enough books about managing fears when confronted with a new situation. This story can be used for starting school, moving, beginning a new activity, or any other time there are significant changes in a child’s life.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.
Date of review: November 14, 2020