By: Kathleen Marcath
Illustrated by: Isaac Liang and Pardeep Mehra
Publication Date: November 2020
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
A young boy who absolutely loves his big monster truck greets readers as they open the pages of My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere With Me, but this isn't just a simple story about trucks and little boys - this is a wonderful book that uses American Sign Language to help tell the story.
On the very first page of My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere With Me we meet an enthusiastic boy (we never learn his name), who introduces us to his favorite toy - his monster truck. But he doesn't just tell us about his truck, instead he says, "This is my" and then spells out in American Sign Language "m-o-n-s-t-e-r t-r-u-c-k". The illustrations on the page are numerous, and yet, very simple to understand. Below each letter is the hand sign for that letter, and at the bottom of the page are several images of the child as he signs. It's fun and interesting to follow. As the story goes along, we learn more and more about the monster truck. It's big, it's purple, it's fast, it's... Each page focuses on one of those attributes and has a fun picture of that very cool truck, as well as images of the boy signing that word. And it's easy to figure out which word he's signing because the featured word on each page is capitalized and in bold print.
Not just an excuse to feature American Sign Language, My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere With Me is also a fun story. Our young protagonist takes his favorite truck to his grandma's house where he plays all day with his truck, his grandma, and all his friends who live in the neighborhood. Races, friends playing, and trucks spinning in clouds of dust - what a fun day! The next morning, however, the truck is missing. Where could it be?
My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere With Me takes on a daunting task and makes it look easy - to incorporate American Sign Language into a children's book and make it fun and engaging for young children. The story is simple and one that little ones will love, and the sign language illustrations are well-done and easy to follow. Kudos to the two illustrators, particularly Isaac Liang Zhi Jie, who, as a deaf illustrator added his own unique talents to the sketches of the little boy signing. There's also a two-page spread at the start of the book with thirty-two images of the star of the book signing different everyday words, and a QR code at the back of the book that you can scan to watch a video of the story being signed. What a great way for children with hearing loss to see themselves reflected in a story, to share their experiences, and engage with their family and friends. Let's hope there are many more books coming from this publisher/author.
Quill says: The use of American Sign Language illustrations and information makes My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere With Me not just a really good picture book but rather a really awesome picture book. What a great way to excite young deaf readers and their families and friends.
For more information on My Monster Truck Goes Everywhere With Me, please visit the website at: www.aslpicturebooks.com