Author: Alice Schertle
Illustrator: Jill McElmurry
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books, Inc.
Publisher’s Intended Audience: Preschool. (Message is important for all ages but text is most appropriate for a very young audience. Would be a wonderful story to present as Reader’s Theater- different children could be assigned different parts in the story.)
Summary: Little Blue Truck tells the story of a friendly little truck who always says hello to the animals as he drives by and treats them with kindness and respect. One day, Blue’s big brother, the Big Yellow Dump Truck, who is always rude and unfriendly to the animals, gets stuck in the mud and cries out for help. All of the animals ignore him, but Blue tries to help and ends up stuck in the mud too. When Blue yells for help, all of the animals come running. The Dump realizes how badly he has behaved and learns the importance of friends and help from others.
Literary elements at work in the story: This book features rhyming text, including a lot of fun sounds and animal noises that young children will love. The illustrations are beautifully done and very funny in places-my daughter loves to spend time looking at all of the details contained in each picture.
The story is set in the countryside, where a little road winds past a big red barn. It is told by a third-person narrator and teaches the reader that everyone has value and importance regardless of size, that it is okay to ask for help, and that we should be kind to one another. The adult reader should be prepared to put on their best animal sounds and truck noises when reading aloud to children. For example, one verxe reads, “’Cluck!’ said a chicken,and her chick said, ‘Peep!’ ‘Maaa!’ said a goat. Blue said, ‘Beep!’”
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economic/ability: One of the key takeaways from this book is the importance of treating everyone with kindness regardless of what they do, who they are, or their outward appearance. The Big Yellow Dump is disrespectful to the animals and treats them like they do not matter. He thinks he is too important for them and cannot possibly slow down to allow them to get out of the road when he is driving through. The Little Blue Truck, on the other hand, is kind to everyone and rushes to the aid of the Dump even though he has been unfriendly. When both the Dump and Blue end up stuck in the mud, the animals rush to help Blue, but are unable to move the trucks without the big green toad, the smallest of the animals, who proudly shows off his biceps and frees the trucks from the mud.
Scripture: 2 Peter 1:7, Ephesians 4:32, Matthew 7:12, 1 John 3:18, Philippians 2:1-4, Matthew 6:14
Theology: In Little Blue , we are reminded that we learn to be kind by receiving kindness from others. The greatest kindness any of us has ever known or will ever know is the kindness of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. When others are unkind, we are commanded to forgive them not once, but as many times as necessary. Remember, Jesus said of forgiveness, “Jesus said, “Not…until seven times, but until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22). But forgiveness is more than just saying, “I forgive you.” We must hold no grudge against the one who harmed us- in this book, for example, the animals do not hesitate to forgive the Dump once he has learned his lesson. Forgiveness also means looking out for the best for others. When Blue asked the animals for help, they did not hesitate even though they knew they would be helping the Dump as well. They chose to forgive and look out for both of them.
Faith Talk Questions (Intended for use with preschoolers):
- How does the Little Blue Truck show kindness to others as he drives along the road?
- Is the Big Yellow Dump kind? Why do you think he is so unfriendly to others?
- What happens when the Dump gets stuck in the mud? Why do the animals ignore his cries for help?
- Blue comes to help his big brother when he gets stuck in the mud, even though his brother has been unkind to others. Why do you think Blue wanted to help him?
- The animals come to Blue’s rescue but should they have come to the rescue of the Dump before Blue asked them to? Why?
- What did the Dump learn once he was rescued?
- Why is it important for us to show kindness to others?
- Why is important for us to forgive others when they do something wrong? Who shows forgiveness in this story?
Review prepared by Erin Mills, MA in Christian Education (MACE), Entering Cohort – 2007.
Little Blue Truck by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.