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Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Village Garage, written and illustrated by G. Brian Karas. Henry Holt, 2010. $19.99 ages 3 and up

"It's time to paint new
road stripes, pick up the
garbage, and mow the
grass. Summer is a busy

The wind soon changes and
blows in from the north. It's
AUTUMN. Leaves turn from
green to yellow and red, then

It is such a simple story, and so well done! I have been spending a fair bit of my time lately looking at books that are particularly suited to boys. We know there are many people out there who believe that we are in the midst of a crisis...that boys don't read. I'm here to tell you that they do, if they have mentors who show them the pleasures of reading and if they have the perfect book at just the right time. The lists I am developing and long and filled with books that boys will love. We just need them to know they are out there.

And so we come to this fine book about seasons, about community workers and about the pleasures of jobs well done. I call it 'faction' looks like a story book, and it reads like nonfiction. It chronicles events throughout the year that involve the men and women who keep our communities running smoothly. Too often they are not honored for the extremely important work that they do.

In the spring workers unite to clean up the streets, using an wide array of diggers, paint trucks, wood chippers and bulldozers to fill potholes (oh boy, do they need to do that after a long and cold winter) and get the town back to beautiful before the arrival of summer visitors. Every season brings its own set of challenges. There is no rest. A small boy and his dog are captivated by the goings-on; the machines that help carry out needed work, the crews that work together to be happy in their jobs and the constantly changing seasons. Never a dull moment here.

G Brian Karas uses gouache, acrylic and pencil to create the familiar images that expertly match the text. In a style that is familiar to his many fans, he is certain to attract the attention new young readers who will have a heyday poring over the action, as the men and machines do what needs to be done, day in and day out. 

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