Thanks to the lovely folks at Owlkids Books, I have two wonderfully fun picture books on the review docket! First up is How to Party Like A Snail by Naseem Hrab and Kelly Collier; and second up is Hooray for Trucks! by Susan Hughes and Suharu Ogawa. Happy reading!
With a number of favourable reviews and a star from Publisher’s Weekly, Naseem Hrab and Kelly Collier’s fantastic, very funny, and thoughtful How to Party Like a Snail is a picture book to be celebrated. As the story begins, readers are immediate introduced to smiling Snail, wearing a bright party hat on their shell. We are also informed that “Snail is a party animal. Well…kind of.” What does mean, exactly, to be kind of party animal? Well, we learn that Snail “loves the quiet things about parties”, like the confetti, “whispering meaningful wishes to cakes”, and “savoring those few silent seconds before everyone yells ‘SURPRISE!’”. Those sounds like cool, special things that Snail adore about parties, but…parties are generally known for being LOUD and exciting and busy, right? Does Snail like any of the loud parts about parties? Well…no. Snail “shrinks into his shell” when the LOUD parts start happening, and even though he starts grooving his own way…quietly…alone…in his shell, Snail can’t help but feel like the odd friend out. As the party invites dwindle, Snail decides to throw a party for just for himself, just the way he likes it- quiet and cozy. With a great strike of luck, though, just as he finds that something is definitely missing from his perfect quiet party, he discovers someone who just might be an incredibly perfect friend. Presented in comics-style format, with bright speech bubbles, and plenty of dynamic and humorous moments, Naseem Hrab’s engaging storytelling along with Kelly Collier’s giggle-inducing, lovable and adorably expressive animals make How to Party Like a Snail a real find. Winsome all-around, with a story that gently touches upon subjects such as sensory sensitivity and introversion, How to Party Like a Snail is definitely recommended reading.
“It’s your big day, truck. Time to shine! One by one, all of you, GET IN LINE! Come on, now. You need to wash. Let’s get going-slather and slosh.” Written by Susan Hughes and illustrated by Suharu Ogawa, Hooray for Trucks! is a brightly illustrated and bouncy rhyming picture book, tailor-made for readers who love reads starring all manners of vehicles! Multiple construction and other trucks are supposed to be getting themselves washed, shined, and ready for a “big day”. Megaphone in hand, our human protagonist marches up to the brightly coloured, grinning, slightly mischievous trucks and lets them know they need to get in line and get washed up. It doesn’t seem like a big ask, but unfortunately, the vehicles have other plans in mind- namely, staying dirty and working, working, working! “Trucks like one thing: trucks like work. Flatten that soil and haul that dirt…trucks want to move. Trucks want to DO!…To be soaked and lathered, scrubbed high and low? That’s just boring- so no, no, NO!”. Just when it seems like the trucks might never line up for a wash, the trucks start listening and begin to realize that getting cleaned up is actually an “important chore”, and part of their work! And with that, Forklift, Grader, Cement Mixer, and Bobcat begin to help each other “wash, wash, WASH!”. In a very sweet and cheery climax, it is revealed just what the trucks have been getting themselves all ready and polished for. For fans of the Construction Site series of books, or titles such as Emma Garcia’s Tip Tip Dig Dig, Kate and Jim McMullen’s I’m Dirty, or similar truck-themed books, Hooray for Trucks! is a fantastic pick. With its general highlight on the importance of teamwork and over-arching encouraging, can-do! tone, Susan Hughes and Suharu Ogawa bring readers a positive and happy read. Hughes’s skilled use of rhyme, repetition, and onomatopoeic text, along with Ogawa’s use of popsicle bright, rainbow washes of colour for the trucks (and let’s not ignore the trucks’ spirited expressions and movements!) will endear readers and keep them engaged and eager for re-reads. Hooray for Trucks! indeed!
I received copies of these titles courtesy of Owlkids Books in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions and comments are my own. Titles have been published and are currently available.