I had heard of The Old Truck by Jerome Pumphrey and Jarrett Pumphrey, but never saw a copy. That is until I accidentally came across it as an online reader copy. The version I found was for the board board edition. I was only about half way through when I knew that I must find finished copies (thankfully currently available) and send them to all my adopted great-nieces/nephews and save a copy for the future official great-niece (who is due May 2024). And as soon as I finished, I read it a second time in case I missed something the first time around. Not to mention, I need to give a third read to read the artwork solo. The story is simple: a truck works hard on the farm, but one day it is tired and needs to rest. But it dreams of wonderful things with a young friend in tow. However, it grows older, as does the rest of the farm as well as the truck’s friend. Eventually that friend, like her parents before her, works hard on the farm. And one day all her hard work pays off when she is able to have real adventures with the truck once again. And though that is a simple concept, the actuality really packed a punch for me. (Right mood? Right place? Or just the right book? Probably a little of everything.)
As we read the text, the artwork is telling a second story while we are engaged with the first. This is a fun mixture which probably gives it that “umph” that caught my interest and enjoyment by allowing it to have layers, giving multiple ages access to things. This second story is showing how the truck worked hard and then how the time is passing, first by the changes of the family, and then (after the truck can no longer work) by the growth of the grass around the truck, as well as the passing of the seasons and finally how the young girl of the beginning now has “little farmer” of her own at the end. The best part of the story for me is near the end when the little girl (of the beginning pages) is now an adult, has fixed the truck, and “vrooms” off to the next chapter of the old truck’s story. I am assuming the chickens (we see on the left side of the book/my screen) were startled, getting their feathers ruffled, as you see them “flapping” like crazy. Which I found funny as the illustrations are folk art and not overly realistic, and even a smidgen “flat” and not “popping off the page.” Yet, the chickens are trying to fly off that page. (If you have seen/heard something like this, it can be amusing.)
The authors/illustrators are the same two as There Was a Party for Langston by Jason Reynolds which is getting a lot of attention due to the subject, current events and having won awards and honors. I mention this first because There Was a Party for Langston is a good book, but also to show different art styles. If you are not a fan of one, that’s fine, try another! But something tells me, you probably will like both versions of their craft.And once you are done with this book, you can have more fun with the book, Old Boat (the hardcover might be available, but the board book has also been recently published as well) to keep your child in transportation books.