Freckle-faced Frankie McGee loves tractors, but his obsession finally tips his mother over the edge, sending her into a humorous meltdown at the public library in All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors. Kids will get a kick out of this hilarious role reversal, especially when Mom is shown perched upside down in a chair, with her head on the floor and feet in the air. As Mom pleads with Frankie to branch out with his reading choices, he mounts an entertaining defense in rhyming prose that’s guaranteed to grab the attention of young vehicular enthusiasts.
His arguments unfold in a series of full-page spreads in which Davina Bell’s text and Jenny Lovlie’s art fall together like seeds in a newly planted field, brimming with possibility. Tractors fill a cascade of countryside scenes that show male and female drivers busy with different tasks that readers will enjoy identifying. Lovlie’s art strikes a perfect balance between healthy doses of technical detail (for instance, comparing Massey Fergusons with John Deeres) and a cornucopia of kid-friendly curves and colors.
Mom’s urgent protests are comical; with a talk-to-the-hand gesture, she turns away from her son’s lecture. Their good-natured give-and-take ramps up the tension delightfully. When Mom reminds Frankie that he used to like trains, he quips, “How boring—I’m snoring just thinking of that.” Meanwhile, readers will be energized by every colorful page, whether it’s a town scene that shows the path Frankie and Mom take to the library or a spread brimming with all sorts of things that go, including a hot air balloon, a tugboat and a cement mixer.
At its heart, All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors is a rollicking love letter not just to tractors but also to libraries, where books are waiting for people with many different interests. The kind librarian, Miss Squid, tells Frankie’s mom to “Hush!” while reassuring Frankie, “Well you know yourself best. / When you want something different, just come and find me. / A kid who likes books is a nice thing to see.”