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Twenty Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street | drawn by Kurt Cyrus • written by Mark Lee

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

Twenty Big Trucks is one that has longevity on a child's shelf. Richly illustrated by Kurt Cyrus, it serves triple duty as an engaging, rhyming storyline, a counting book and, I would add, an introduction to spatial reasoning.

My favorite part about this book is the accuracy with which Cyrus has laid out the scene. Using multiple vantage points, there isn't an architectural misstep or a detail lost in his depiction of this line of trucks snaking through the city streets. Upon read after read, one will notice the consistency of people in the background and their placement, guiding the eye to understand the space (watching a little girl quietly lose her pink balloon over a few pages is one charming element). Cyrus has struck a great balance of busyness without overcrowding or overstimulating. This, combined with his beautiful use of light, calmly allows for the reader to explore at one's own pace.

The story itself is important in that its hero is a humble child on a bike who offers the solution to a situation that has befuddled all of the surrounding adults. But the child-saving-the-grown-ups is not the most important take-away here. It is that he tries to say his suggestion once, which goes unheard, and then tries again resulting in everyone's agreement that "this kid's idea is best." It's an exemplified encouragement for children to speak up in kindness as he did. Mark Lee is realistic in showing him have a brief moment of doubt after the first try ("I'm too little, just in the way"). But the result of the seamless execution of the boy's idea, and everyone's listening and working together, teaches us to work through self-doubt and believe your ideas matter.

Other books illustrated by Kurt Cyrus:


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