CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 21 . . . . June 20, 2003
My First Canadian Trucks consists of 16 double page spreads containing photographs of not just trucks, as the book’s title would suggest, but other vehicles such as tractors and graders. Ten of the pairs of facing pages present vehicles grouped by their purposes, such as “Moving and working” (a garbage truck, cement mixer, street sweeper and snowplow), “Road builders” (a roller, grader and scraper) and “Heavy haulers” (a car carrier and tanker, logging and transport trucks). Two other sets of pages present a single vehicle, a giant dump truck and a huge bulldozer. The last four sets of pages ask the reader to be more actively involved by, for example, identifying the largest/smallest truck, counting vehicles, matching truck parts with their appropriate vehicle, and finding nine matching pairs of vehicle photographs.
Though the book’s producers have been careful to show North American left-hand drive vehicles (or not show a steering wheel at all), occasionally a right-hand drive can be found as is the case with the livestock truck in “On the farm,” the curtain-sided delivery truck in “Little trucks” and the off-road dump truck in “Dump trucks.” The pickup truck illustrated in “Little trucks” appears to be more an antique vehicle than a representation of a contemporary pickup. Among the “Winter trucks” is a photograph labeled as an “ice resurfacer” though the manufacturer’s name, Zamboni, is clearly visible. In the same fashion that brand names like scotch tape and kleenex have come to be synonymous with a particular type of product, zamboni is likely the word that most children will use for any ice resurfacer.
A good home purchase, My First Canadian Trucks also should be purchased by libraries and day care centres serving toddlers. Because of a continuing interest in the book’s “machine” contents, children will likely continue to “read” My First Canadian Trucks even after their fine motor skills permit them to move beyond board books.
Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children’s and YA literature at the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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