Baby Book Club: Little Blue Truck

Owen pretty much has his basic colours down now. When we walk down to the waterfront, as we do most nights, he looks for the yellow cars (rare), orange cars (rarer), and blue cars (plentiful!). Our walks have taken a new dimension, in a way, because colour is now incorporated.

Alice Schertle’s colourful book Little Blue Truck (illustrated by Jill McElmurry) was recommended recently by the saleswoman at Babar Books in Pointe Claire. I liked it immediately. It’s perfect for Owen’s age (almost 2) because the rhymes are simple and catchy, and the book is full of creatures my little boy loves (namely, farm animals and trucks): “Horn went ‘Beep!’ / Engine purred. / Friendliest sounds / you ever heard. / Little Blue Truck / Came down the road. / ‘Beep!” said Blue / To a big green toad.” The rhymes actually work without any of them having to be forced (unlike a certain Baby Einstein book which shall remain nameless, or some of the peekaboo, fuzzy, lift the flap books. What passes as children’s poetry astounds me sometimes).

The book is about a friendly truck who is kind to all the local animals. One day, a big, rude, dump truck arrives in the neighbourhood. It hasn’t “got time / To spend the day / With every duck / Along the way.” The dump truck gets stuck in the mud, though, and needs the help of all the animals he’s been shunning.

Little Blue Truck has a moral, and that’s OK, but I wish Schertle had resisted the urge to spell it out for us (and the toddlers, who I’m sure could have figured out on their own that: “Now I guess / A lot depends / From a helping hand / From a few good friends.”) The other thing that I feel weird about is that I am pretty sure an old truck like Blue would be a gas guzzler, so he’d be poisoning the air of all his little farm buddies.

In any case, the book is charming, the illustrations lovely, and the truck’s carbon footprint is surely not the point.