Review: Supertruck by Stephen Savage
By Stephen Savage
Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan)
The 21st century is when superhero culture exploded. Have Batman, Spider-Man, Superman (and many more) ever been more mainstream than they are today? Supertruck by Stephen Savage (Where’s Walrus?) enters this climate with gusto. Through precise storytelling and striking illustrations, this is a superhero story for the truck-obsessed masses.
There are a lot of brave trucks in the city: bucket truck, firetruck, tow truck. There’s also the quiet, unassuming garbage truck, who goes about his business of collecting the trash. But when a snowstorm hits and everyone is stuck, the garbage truck enters his secret garage, trades his spectacles for a snowplow, and emerges as Supertruck, ready to dig out the city.
Parallels to the Superman story are plain to see. One of the most fascinating aspects of the superhero genre is the concept of a hidden identity, so bringing this to the world of trucks is a highly appealing move. The garbage truck wears thick-framed Clark Kent glasses as he goes about his daily routine. Superman’s iconic phone booth has been turned into an off-the-beaten-path garage. These elements add an attractive bit of familiarity for young readers.
Speaking of highly appealing, Savage’s bold, bright artwork will be a big draw. Savage has proven that he’s a master of not adding stuff – or rather, breaking things down to their most essential elements. Every spread is uncluttered and crystal clear. Texture is used sparingly to highlight the action and add depth. The art is created digitally, but there are real-world touches – as in the case of the falling flakes of snow, which the artist created by digitizing the shape of currants (which he revealed in this interview at Watch. Connect. Read.).
Why should aliens from Krypton have all the fun? Superhero fans or not, Supertruck will charm audiences of all kinds.
Review copy from the publisher
Also reviewed by Waking Brain Cells.
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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