Review: Food Trucks! by Mark Todd
By Mark Todd
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Who thought up this whole food truck trend? ‘Cause it’s perfect fodder for a kid’s book. It combines food, which people seem to like, and trucks, which scores of kids love to the level of obsession. Hand it to Mark Todd for embracing the possibilities, and creating this first-ever picture book on the topic. Food Trucks! does a lot of things very well, and one (pretty big) thing not as well as I would have liked. But it’s guaranteed to make you hungry.
Each spread features a truck (14 in all) serving up a particular cuisine – from breakfast to burgers, salad to sushi. Spare, sometimes rhyming, often rhythmic text describes each vehicle, while caption bubbles add facts and details about food history and real life trucks.
Todd’s pen and ink line work is bold and loose. The cartoon illustrations are digitally colored, giving the whole undertaking a crisp, bright look that visually jumps off the page. This all adds up to a hefty amount of shelf appeal.
Will the majority of kids know what a food truck is? Does it matter? I say no to both. Those that live in larger towns and cities will see something familiar in this book, while those that don’t will likely marvel at the possibilities.
My biggest hesitation with Food Trucks! is the main text, which shifts back and forth from rhyming to non-rhyming verse. From page to line the reader doesn’t know what the rhythm is, which can occasionally make for an awkward/jarring read.
While that may sink some books, Food Trucks! does too many things right to be denied. It’s a unique, informative, and entertaining book that kids will be happy to dig into.
Review copy from the library.
Filed under: Reviews
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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