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Review: The Village Garage by G. Brian Karas

The Village Garage
By G. Brian Karas
Henry Holt
ISBN: 9780805087161
$16.99
Grades K-2
In Stores

Quick test: Name a picture book about city workers. Having trouble? Me too. The men and women who keep our towns running smoothly are indeed a rarely represented subject in the children’s lit world. The Village Garage is notable for addressing this topic, and doing a fine job in the process. Simplicity well executed.

The plot here is the changing of the seasons. The mood, sunny. The Village Garage isn’t a story, as much as snapshots of events that occur during the course of a full year.

It’s Spring and that means the workers at the Village Garage are busy cleaning up.

Using an assortment of diggers, bulldozers, road stripe painters, and wood chippers, city employees tackle the tasks that enable the town to function. From collecting leaves and filling potholes to bridge repair and snow removal – each season brings a new challenge.

Let’s talk artwork. I like it. Using gouache, acrylic, and pencil Karas deftly mixes childlike, angular elements with more detailed three dimensional objects and vehicles. The result is easy on the eyes and a nice match for the simplicity of the text.

A book on a subject that doesn’t get much pub. A great pick for teaching the idea of community. Cool machines. What we have here is a success.

Review copy from publisher.

Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.

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About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.