Backhoe Joe

Backhoe Joe
By Lori Alexander, illustrated by Craig Cameron
HarperCollins, 2014

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”!

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