Supertruck by Stephen Savage

I’m happy to be sharing Stephen Savage‘s Supertruck (2015, Roaring Brook Press) 2016 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book with you today. Supertruck is a great picture book for young readers. What starts out as somewhat of a concept book about different truck types becomes so much more.

Here’s what I LOVE about Supertrucks:

(1) It uses simplistic language to do something rather complex. Supertruck is written for younger students; the vocabulary is rather easy. In fact, the book only has 109 words. But Savage tells quite a story in 109 words!  One aspect that I talk to my children literature students about is that some really good children’s books appeal not only to children but to adults, too.  And I think Supertruck falls into this category. Whereas really young readers might understand this book as one about a garbage truck-turned-Supertruck that saves the city from a snow storm, older readers can delve deeply into ideas about identity and  self-worth. I like that the book exists at multiple levels.

(2) It’s about the powerful transformations of which we are capable. This book helps younger readers – and the adults reading it to them – look for the great strengths within us all.  Even though the book is built on this premise that being a garbage truck is not glamorous work (even though they do wonders for our society each and every day), it also emphasizes this idea that we all carry something great and strong and bold inside us.

(3) The illustrations. Writer-illustrator Savage plays around with perspective, levels, and colors in this book. I love the trucks’ frowns and smiles and their big eyes.  Readers who like the CARS franchise will appreciate these trucks’ expressions. Savage does not overwhelm readers with his color palette. Some pages are wordless (including a really cool page at the beginning of the book on which readers can look ‘down’ at the city).  These wordless pages really help readers focus on Savage’s style.

Let me know what you think of Supertruck in the comments below!

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