By Lori Alexander, illustrated by Craig Cameron
In Backhoe Joe, Nolan finds a ‘stray’ backhoe and takes him home to be his new pet. His parents are a bit skeptical. Nolan tries to show he can train his pet to “Come!”, “Stay!”, and “Leave it!” But Backhoe Joe has a lot of energy and humorously makes messes—just like a real pet! Finally Nolan finds a way to teach Joe commands. Then Nolan sees a sign saying Joe is lost and if found, to call for a reward. Nolan struggles with wanting to keep the backhoe as a pet and knowing he should return it to its owners. He chooses to do the right thing. His reward is visiting Joe at his real worksite. And there’s a delightful twist at the end when Nolan gets his next pet.
Backhoe Joe is a perfect, heartfelt book for boys and girls who like trucks and construction things. The illustrations are friendly and give Backhoe Joe a personality that complements Nolan’s. The combined story and illustrations have the potential to become a classic. A fun book about a different kind of “pet”!