Small Walt by Elizabeth Verdick (review)
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Reviewed by
Verdick, Elizabeth Small Walt; illus. by Marc Rosenthal. Wiseman/Simon, 2017 40p
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-4845-1 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-4846-8 $10.99 R 2-6 yrs

Night falls. Snow falls. It’s time to call plows into action, and the big burly drivers claim the big burly vehicles first, leaving Gus quite happily in charge of Walt, the smallest plow on the lot. Once his engine is revving, dot-eyed Walt manifests eyebrows slanted in determination and emanates lightning squiggles, vrooms and shrugga ruggas, and clouds of gray exhaust as he prepares to hit the road. Icy bridges, dicey ramps, a motorist-stranding blizzard—all in a night’s work. No hill is too steep (although scaling it takes two tries), and no incline is too perilous (although it’s good to have a bigger rig following to widen the path.) Best of all, when dawn arrives and the plows pull back onto the lot, Walt finally gets his props from the burly guys (“The little guy did a better job than I thought”) and receives a winter scarf blue ribbon from Gus. Older-than-dirt adult readers will be reminded of Katy the snowplow from Virginia Lee Burton’s Katy and the Big Snow, and indeed Rosenthal’s art channels Burton in its coziness as small cottages nestle among curving hills, warm yellow interior lights dot the windows, and the golden illumination of the plows’ headlamps pierce a night that never gets darker or scarier than twilight. This will make a fine bedtime story for a snowy night, reassuring listeners that heroes of all stripes are out there keeping the community safe. [End Page 137]

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