Melvin Might? Hardcover – Oct 28 2008
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About the Author
Jon Scieszka is the creator of Trucktown, including the New York Times bestselling Smash, Crash!, and the author of The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!, the Time Warp Trio series, Caldecott Honor Book The Stinky Cheese Man, and many other books that inspire kids to want to read. He has worked as an elementary school teacher and is the founder of GuysRead.com, a literacy initiative for boys.
David Shannon has written and illustrated numerous award winning picture books including Duck on a Bike, the Caldecott Honor Book No David!, How I Learned to be a Pirate, and Good Boy Fergus. He is also one of the collaborative illustrators in Jon Scieszka’s Trucktown series. David lives with his wife and his daughter in Los Angeles.
David Gordon has done visual development for numerous production companies from Lucasfilm to Pixar, including Toy Story; Monsters, Inc.; A Bug’s Life; Cars; BlueSky’s Robots; and Nickelodeon’s Spongebob Squarepants. He’s also written and illustrated several picture books, among them Hansel and Diesel, The Three Little Rigs, The Ugly Truckling, and Smitten. He’s one of the illustrators of Jon Scieszka’s fifty-two-book, New York Times bestselling series, Trucktown. Visit him at IllustratorRanch.com.
Loren Long illustrated President Barack Obama’s Of Thee I Sing; the newest version of The Little Engine that Could; Madonna’s second picture book, Mr. Peabody’s Apples; Nightsong by Ari Berk; and the Barnstormers series. He also illustrated Frank McCourt’s Angela and the Baby Jesus and is part of the Design Garage for Jon Scieszka’s Trucktown series. Loren’s work has appeared in Time, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic. He lives with his wife and two sons in Westchester, Ohio. Visit him at LorenLong.com.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
1. The illustrations are superbly done. Colorful and vivid. Expressions of the cars are nicely done.
2. The story is about Melvin (Cement Mixer truck) who worries. Basically he worries about everything -- perhaps just like an insecure child. But to help his friend who is in trouble (Rescue Rita), he overcomes his fear and worry. The point of the story can really teach a child to learn about helping others in need despite his/her fears and worries.
3. The book is not long (only 44 pages) and filled with colorful illustrations.
4. The book is stitched (Smyth-sewn) and not glued and therefore it will last a long time.
5. Pages are strong and 2/3 way end of the book, there is a fold-out pages that excites the kids (my kids said, "oh, cool!").
6. Inside the cover, there are characters of the series that also appear in other books. In this book, several characters do not appear, however.
Overall, it is an excellent book for kids to learn about overcoming one's fears and worries to help others. Very nice, indeed.
The plot, while still well within a 3-year-old's attention span, is a bit more involved than the other Trucktown books we've looked at, which seem to focus mostly on smashing things and getting into mischief. Sure, there's mischief involved here, but it's used to set up a positive message that being worried or scared doesn't mean one shouldn't try. The colorful illustrations are active and appealing, and are enhanced by a couple of trick pages: one that's turned sideways and a double foldout. They add just a touch of flavor without being distracting.
My advice: bring your child to the store, or to the Trucktown website, and see if he or she likes the eccentric character designs. If so, then Melvin Might is definitely a good introduction to the series. Just be aware going forward that the books vary somewhat in tone and style, so try before you buy.
Having few phrases on each page makes it suitable for impatient, little ones who aren't old enough to read yet. Also plenty of repetitive phrases to help them learn reading patterns. Paper, color and illustrations are high quality. Naming of characters employed alliteration for extra fun.
BUT...it sends a weird message. If you are the type of parent that is very aware of what message is sent to your children you may want to read this book before buying it. But if you are more laid back and not as sensitive to all of that and/or don't believe in it all then disregard this.
to those other parents, that are like me, here's the basic problem:
Melvin's a worry wart. the book plays it up in a way that he worries too much. But due to his worrying, he hesitates to basically follow the other trucks and essentially "jump off a bridge". So indirectly it promotes being a worry wart. Another truck that just follows along, "Me too!, nearly gets hurt but then Melvin overcomes his worrying to save that truck. Which sends a good message that if you "try to do it" you "can do it", and he steps up and saves his friend. After that both friends decide that even though they survived they are going to choose to "worry". I just don't get it. Cute, but if you think about it, it really sends a negative message---It's good not to follow kids off a bridge, but doing so makes you a major worry wart. hmmmm.
Melvin Might? reminds me of the little fire engine that repeated "I think I can". But Melvin really never overcomes his negative outlook even after he saves Rita. However, after reading the story to a class of inner city 2nd grade boys they all thought Melvin was a hard worker that went all out to help his friend. They loved the cartoon look of the trucks. The two accordion pages really sparked their interest but I can see them tearing easily with the rough handling of children (especially boys). One of the boys commented that the trucks look like the ones in the movie "Cars" specifically "Tow-mater". I definitely recommend this book for parents, teachers and libraries that cater to boys.