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*Hansel & Diesel* by David Gordon

Also written and/or illustrated by David Gordon:

The Great Truck Rescue (Jon Scieszka's Trucktown)

Let's Dig It! (Jon Scieszka's Trucktown)
Hansel & Diesel
by David Gordon
Ages 4-8 32 pages Laura Geringer Books August 2006 Hardcover    

Even though the circumstances are different this time, you will still be holding the heart of the Hansel and Gretel story in your hand. And in this story, the “happily ever after” is shared with many.

Whether in a library or a bookstore, take the time to find this book. David Gordon has overhauled Hansel and Gretel's story, tuning up the setting, the characters, and the plot. In this version, siblings Hansel and Diesel are trucks. They live near a junkyard, but there is more in this junkyard than old cars and corroded parts. The Little Old Winch resides here, in an alluring garage with warm oil, shiny silver lifts, and plenty of fuel.

Hansel and Diesel do lead pretty happy lives. They play on tire swings while their parents look on. Their bedroom walls are adorned with hubcaps, and the beds are made of tarps, boards, and tires. However, winter is coming and fuel is getting low - and low fuel means hunger. Hansel and Diesel embark on an adventure that takes them farther into the junkyard. Will their trail of bolts be enough to ensure a safe return home?

The illustrations give the impression the junkyard would be an interesting place to explore. Vehicle parts are toys, and there are colorful barrels around, abandoned buildings to enter, and all kinds of machinery to look at. Twisted metal structures and tall towers of tires make for unique obstacle-course pathways. The trucks and the Little Old Winch have not been limited in their expressions and movements by being inanimate objects. Hansel and Diesel are so lively in the illustrations, whether guzzling fuel, or playing with their parents. My favorite illustration is of the gas station where the Little Old Winch lives. It’s not a candy gas station, but the colors and glow coming off the striped fuel pumps, neon signs and lighted buildings remind me of one.

The book begins and ends with examples of strong family relationships. Children help their parents, and parents help their children right through the book. In addition, exploring a junkyard and meeting a Little Old Winch might be less frightening to children then being lost in the woods and meeting up with a wicked witch.

The author's other books make an appearance on the floor of Hansel and Diesel’s room! The Ugly Truckling and The Three Little Rigs were written and illustrated by David Gordon also, and children with a good eye can spot them on the floor of Hansel and Diesel’s bedroom. Children who love books featuring vehicles might like these books, too.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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