As the book opens, we meet Skid, a tiny tractor in a world of enormous diggers, bulldozers, dump trucks, and cranes who frequently tell him, "Stay here little guy; you're too small...We have important work and it's no place for a dinky tractor with a putt-putt engine." All except Pillar, the giant bulldozer. "You don't have to be big to be mighty," Pillar says.
"I don't?" says Skid. "How can a little tractor like me ever do big things? I'm even afraid of the dark."
Pillar replies, "A lot of tractors are afraid of the dark...You just have to do what you were made to do, even if you're afraid."
Then one day, a tunnel the heavy equipment machines are working on collapses and Pillar is buried beneath the rubble. Pete the dump truck asks Skid for help. Only Skid is small enough to make his way through the rubble and dig out Pillar. Skid is afraid, but he tried anyway. He carefully digs Pillar out and soon all the heavy equipment is cheering him. Skid, Pillar says, was "a mighty brave machine."
"That's why when you pass by an important construction job today, you'll probably see a little loader named Skid. Because even big machines know they just may need a brave tiny tractor to do what he was made to do."Skid is a high quality book and could easily pass as a mainstream title. In fact, the only thing that makes this book Christian is the subtitle: "A story of courage based on Deuteronomy 31:6."
Throughout, Stoddard's illustrations bring the characters to life. Somehow, he manages to bring out the human qualities in heavy equipment and dump trucks.
What I Like: Everything. This is a delightfully told, well written story with quality illustrations. The message is a good one, and appeals to two central issues in the lives of young children. And while this book may generally appeal more to boys, my daughter is a huge fan, too.
What I Dislike: Nothing, really, although I would have preferred that the Bible verse be quoted. ("Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.") But perhaps the publisher chose not to do this, hoping the title would be more accessible to the mainstream market.
Overall Rating: Excellent.
Age Appeal: 4 - 8.
Publishing Info: Warner, 2009; ISBN: 978-1593173555; hardback, $12.99