Friday, September 18, 2009

John Scieszka's Truck Town: Smash! Crash! by John Scieszka

For those kids for whom knocking down the blocks is more fun that stacking them up, Jon Scieszka's Smash! Crash! (Jon Scieszka's Trucktown) is right down their construction site.

Two anthropomorphic trucks, Jack, a semi, and Dan, a dump truck, are definitely destruction derby guys. Their headlight eyes glaze over, their engines rev, and dust and traffic cones fly through the air whenever they meet:

"What should we do, Jack?"

"What we always do, Dan!"


When a foreboding shadow falls over them and a big voice yells, "HEY, YOU TWO!", though, the two trucks take off with a fast "Uh oh! Gotta go!"

Jack and Dan look all over town for some buddies to smash and crash with them, but Manny the Cement Mixer, Monster Truck Max, and Izzy the Ice Cream Van are all busy with their day jobs. Finally Gabriela Garbage Truck and Road Grader Kat are willing IF the guys will play pirates with them. Jack and Dan agreeably smash and crash up some junk to form a perfect pirate fort.

Just then the ominous shadow and deep voice returns. It's Rosie the Wrecker Crane, looming over them and booming out, "HEY, YOU TWO! I WANT YOU. I WANT YOU TO..."

The two trucks cower. "Oh, no! No go!" they whimper. As the flap page is lifted to open up a demolition scene, Rosie roars,

"Oh," says Dan, "We can do that!" Joyfully Semi-Cab Jack and Dump Truck Dan pull up and help Wrecker Rosie crash and smash down a condemned building with great glee, making a joyful noise and stirring up glorious clouds of smoke and dust.

In this first of several in Scieszka's Truck Town series, most of the merry mayhem comes from the computer-assisted illustrations of talented artists David Shannon, Loren Long, and David Gordon. In future sequels readers are introduced to other citizens of Truck Town, the do-gooder firetrucks Hook & Ladder Lucy and Pumper Pat, Rescue Rita the Copter, Tow Truck Ted, and the bully Big Rig. This series should be King of the Road with kids who love heavy metal muscle machinery.

For more fun with some mischievous machines see also my earlier review of David Gordon's Hansel and Diesel.

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