That big truck is stuck! How will the island residents get where they're going? A tale of community and ingenuity from the celebrated Chris Van Dusen, inspired by a true story.
When a big truck and its big load get stuck on a narrow road, traffic on the little island comes to a halt. Some cars need to go south and some have to travel north. How will Meg get to her swim meet? What about Barry's ballet class? Luckily, the kids come up with an ingenious solution: why not just swap cars? Inspired by an incident that happened on Vinalhaven, Maine, Chris Van Dusen tells a fun tale of resourcefulness and community through clever, rhyming wordplay and whimsical illustrations, sprinkled with plenty of cars and trucks for transportation-loving readers.
In his signature art style, Van Dusen (the Mercy Watson series) opens with an expansive bird's-eye spread of a tugboat headed across a northerly bay on "one bright summer day." Readers can almost taste the salt air as the tug hauls a barge, on which sits a semi with an "extra large" covered load, to the titular island. Once on land, the driver "came to a switchback, terribly tight, / then felt the whole payload shift off to his right," blocking the island's single road and necessitating a rescue. But instead of focusing on extracting the jackknifed truck, Van Dusen turns his attention to the island's residents: four children of various skin tones stuck in vehicles on either side of the semi. Blocked from getting to their respective outings, and noting that the adults seem more frustrated than action-oriented, the kids briskly confer, and then "quickly decided, as friends, what to do": "Listen," one says, "let's all exchange cars./ We'll borrow yours, and then you borrow ours." The crisply rhyming, economic text underscores both the protagonists' cut-to-the-chase ingenuity and the story's deftly delivered core message: when community and trust run deep, life's inevitable obstacles are a lot easier to work around. An author's note details the story's origins on Vinalhaven, Maine. Ages 3-7. (May)Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
The story, inspired by an actual mishap on Maine's Vinalhaven island, rollicks along in rhymed verse that makes the most of the transportation theme. . . Gouache paintings maintain a lighthearted perspective on the islanders' troubles, while accurately conveying the challenge of coaxing a massive rig along slippery switchbacks. This study in quick-thinking and neighborliness is bound to earn demands to read it again.
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books