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The Old Truck

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,181 ratings  ·  238 reviews
When is an old truck something more? On a small, bustling farm, a resilient and steadfast pickup works tirelessly alongside the family that lives there, and becomes a part of the dreams and ambitions of the family’s young daughter.

After long days and years of hard work leave the old truck rusting in the weeds, it’s time for the girl to roll up her sleeves. Soon she is runn
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Norton Young Readers
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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,181 ratings  ·  238 reviews

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Robbi C
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: c-books, h-books
As a girl who grew up adoring her dad and “helping” him work on cars, who was taught to appreciate old cars and trucks by her parents, who was toted around to various car shows for family vacations, who lives out in the country where I see this story play out all too often, and finally, as a girl grown into a nostalgic woman, this book really made me say, “Oh, my heart.” ❤️ Lovely.
Pre-read Squee:

The author of Truck: A Love Story, my favorite, Michael Perry, would appreciate this. His daughters are past picture-book age, but his oldest is, iiuc, so much like the character in this book that she'd love it anyway. And maybe grandkids are on the way. I'll have to recommend it to him, if it doesn't disappoint me.

Guess what! Two of the libraries picked it up on their own initiative, and my local one already has it ready for me after I requested it!!
Done! My only complaint?
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is so cute! I love the story and the illustrations. I had heard about the author and illustrator on NPR one day, and just thought the book sounded so good. It's about how a little black girl grows up to farm her family's land. ...more
I love this simple narrative about family, farming, perseverance, dreaming, and the passage of time. The illustrations made from uniquely carved stamps (linoleum blocks) are delightful and brilliant!
There have been some beautiful picturebooks to come out of 2020 & I feel lucky to have read them. One special picturebook which I adore on so many levels is the brothers Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey’s The Old Truck. I thought I'd walk through the book and share why I think it’s so special...(see my continued review over on my blog)
Kris Patrick
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
It would be hard to lead a socially distanced read aloud with this one. I would want all the readers huddled really close to me so we could study the pictures together!
Rod Brown
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
Vaguely interesting intellectually, especially for busting stereotypes all over the place, but it just never came alive for me. Anyone familiar with my reviews will not be surprised to hear I was not a fan of the pointless dream sequence in the middle, especially since it was (view spoiler) ...more
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This should be on a bunch of award lists this year. A sweet coming of age story about a girl and her truck. Imaginative, simple, poignant. The stamped illustrations are masterful, with a colorful muted palette and a confident sense of structure and pattern. Highly recommended for ages 3-6.
Sarah Sammis
The life of an old truck as seen through multiple generations of farmers. Illustrations created by making stamps. Very cool!

Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Lovely illustrations and a lovely story.
My son-in-law owns an 'old truck' and loves this book, can tell a few stories about those old trucks in his past. Endpapers tell that Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey created over 250 stamps to create these special illustrations. In it, they celebrate old trucks in their lives and those seen in Texas pastures in this story of a family with one girl who work hard on their farm. And so does their truck. Brief text and lovely illustrations show time passing as the girl grows up and slowly takes apart a ...more
The easy reader text and the simple, direct illustration does nothing to simplify the impact of this perfect picture book.
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The Old Truck is a beautiful story looking at growing up and making the most of family, growing old and new life! The author focuses on using the pictures to portray the story to the reader, and uses very little words, which to me made the story more moving to me. I would highly recommend this story to a KS1 class, and would be great for cross-curricular use!
Julie Overpeck
Thank you to @nortonyoungreaders for a review copy. All opinions are my own.

I love this book for so many reasons. As far as picture books go, the illustrations are beautiful and the spare text is perfect for young readers. Also, The Old Truck at first glance looks like it is about a farm truck that was used, and then was included in a little girl's imaginative adventures, left in the field to rust, and eventually restored by the farmer whose parents owned it when she was a little girl. But #1--d
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Well, shit. This made me cry. It's a simple story about the passage of time, the inevitability of change. I thought I knew where it was going, and yet its charms and poignancy crept up on me. It's sort of like The Giving Tree, but featuring a loving and loyal relationship between a child (who becomes, of course, an adult) and an object, rather than the one-sided and sort of sad relationship depicted in the Shel Silverstein classic.

The illustrations here are also simple (limited color palette, p
Nadine Jones
Oct 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a completely charming and simple picture book which would be perfect for a beginning reader. Each page has a few words, with some repetition, as we see the old farm truck get older and the little girl grow into a woman (a woman who is quite handy and decides to get that old truck spiffed up). I found the story to be really heart-warming and full of hope.

The art is charming as well. Apparently the Pumphrey brothers made over 250 stamps to create this art. I did wish the colors were brig
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
An old truck on a farm serves as a boat, an airplane, a spaceship for a young girl and then is reconditioned to serve as a truck again once the girl comes to maturity.

A lovely little story of meaning and purpose and strong women and recycling and the power of the imagination. I love the stamped artwork, too.
Mar 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The very simple text is almost completely carried along with the stunning illustrations, that have a retro, but unique look. It was nice to see that a talented woman mechanic got the truck running again.
Jun 15, 2020 added it
Shelves: picturebooks
A lovely circular story, written in exquisitely simple text and graphic, stamped illustrations—it feels at once both modern and classic.
Shaye Miller
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
In subdued, pastel colors we witness the fact that an old truck has a long memory. It works hard, it eventually put to rest, but is revived years later. Nevertheless, the story is less about the truck and more about the family that loves it — how they change and grow. And how the farm is passed down from father to daughter. Such a beautiful “feel good” story that can be enjoyed again and again.

For more children's literature, middle grade literature, and YA literature reviews, feel free to visit
Isabel Smith
Short and simple, yet meaningful and impactful. The Old Truck follows the life of a young girl living on a farm with her family and the reliable old truck that helps them with so many daily chores around the farm. It progresses beautifully in that when the girl gets older she helps restore the truck, who has become even older still, in order to start the cycle back over again. Full of heart and wonder, this book would be perfect for a farm-life, “things that go,” or women in power storytime sess ...more
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lots of things to love about this children's picture book. The illustrations are a gentle throwback to a simpler time. The little girl depicted grows into a mechanically inclined woman who eventually fixes her father's beloved old truck, which has fallen into disrepair; she also inherits the family farm. The multigenerational aspect of the story is especially appealing, in which, as a mom, the same farm routines are played out in her life at the end of the book that we see in the beginning with ...more
Feb 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
Read it. An old farm truck grows older as a young girl grows up. Lovely stamped illustrations in a simple color palette. History repeats itself.
The Old Truck follows a life and a legacy of a truck and a farm and a family. In the first illustration we see a pregnant woman gathering flowers and a man carrying a plank of wood toward a mid-constructed barn. The crop in the pasture still young; the sun somewhere still early in the sky. We begin to learn how to mark the passage of time: the earth, the sky, the farmers’ daughter… But while the farm is new, the truck is an old one, and the truck is our first subject: “On a small farm, an old tr ...more
Rachel Yoder
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I loved the messages of this book—of strong women, gender roles, rural life, persistence... great book!
Richie Partington
Feb 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks, a-list
Richie’s Picks: THE OLD TRUCK by Jarrett Pumphrey and Jerome Pumphrey, Norton, January 2020, 48p., ISBN: 978-1-324-00519-3

“And I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you”
-- Cyndi Lauper (1986)

There are lots of books for children about a girl and her horse, or a girl and her dog, or a girl and her best human friend. But there are not a lot of kids books about a girl and her pickup truck.

This unique, exquisite picture book about tradition and renewal is a
Very cute.
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This picture book is about a farm family and generational farming and Black farming and about a trusty piece of equipment; the last element (important enough to be the title element) puts the book in a cherished but previously non-diverse collection with Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and Otis. Which is good enough company, heaven knows, but this is also a book that shows all children that Black people farm. That is enough to recommend it for every library and add it to the storytime canon. ...more
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The gentle, muted illustrations in this story took me back to my childhood. It was a time when I lived in a small Indiana town surrounded by old farms. These were farms passed down through multiple generations; usually a bit worn with multiple buildings surrounding an old farmhouse and very often old trucks scattered around on the property. We would pass by these farms as we made the trek to visit both sets of grandparents on almost a weekly basis. I sat in the front seat because I was always ho ...more
Feb 21, 2020 rated it liked it
A common sight in rural Texas is old trucks set out to pasture. This is an ode to both hard work and perseverance.
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