CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 27. . . .March 24, 2017
Monster Truck Buck.
Dan O’Dell. Illustrations by Jason Doll.
Winnipeg, MB: Peanut Butter Press, 2017.
32 pp., hardcover, $19.95.
Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.
Review by Myra Junyk.
Gus is a boy, an ever-clever boy,
And, he has a favourite friends-forever toy.
A ginormously awesome red monster truck –
A truck of great fame named Monster Truck Buck!
Monster Truck Buck tells the story of the relationship between a young Gus and his favourite toy – Monster Truck Buck. Buck, a “star in the sandbox”, has large “gnarly and snarly” tires which have tremendous traction. As a result, Buck can do all kinds of movements including: climbing, jumping, soaring and bouncing.
The two friends enjoy playing together, but one day while playing with Buck in his bedroom, Gus suggests that Buck should do the driving. The result is a frantic ride through the house with a massive crash into the recycling bin causing a huge mess. Gus asks Buck to help him clean up, and they co-operate to accomplish the task.
Dan O’Dell is a long-time advertising Creative Director whose first picture book, Monster Truck Buck, explores the relationship between a young boy and his truck. Gus loves his “friends-forever toy,” and even names him Monster Truck Buck. Their experiences are full of action and imagination. However, when Gus turns over control to the toy, there is a disaster. Their co-operation in cleaning up the mess is admirable. At the end of the book, readers will discover Gus dreaming about new adventures.
The simple storyline focuses on the relationship between a young boy and his truck. The illustrations are colourful; however, they often lack perspective. Gus and the truck are constantly changing sizes. If this was meant to show his imagination, it was not effectively done. The recent release of the Monster Trucks movie shows how popular these trucks are.
Readers will find that the text of Monster Truck Buck is full of awkward rhymes and confusing sentences such as, “Monster Truck Buck, Model 703/Of the MT ConsTRUCKtion-Is-Fun Company.” Many words are spelled as they would sound, “soaRRR,” SKAWWWNK!”and “CRRRRASH!”. Although the message about co-operation and imagination could have been a good one, the lack of rigorous editing detracts from the effectiveness of this picture book.
Recommended with Reservations.
Myra Junyk is a Toronto-based literacy advocate and author.
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