In The Village Garage, author/illustrator G. Brian Karas depicts an often overlooked but integral part of every community. A boy and his dog follow a diverse work crew around town, beginning in spring as they clean up debris from winter storms. Summer, their busiest season, has potholes to be patched and bridges and phone lines to be mended after a thunderstorm. Autumn is all about gathering leaves. (“And they fall. EVERYWHERE.”) Winter brings a little time to relax and play a card game until a snowstorm moves in, and then it’s off to plow the roads.
Karas’ energetic gouache and acrylic paintings with pencil lend humor to the hard-working crew, from the “accidental” spraying during a truck wash to the appearance of the boss’ signature cowboy hat on a snowman. Young readers will delight in the range of machines represented—wood chipper, steamroller, backhoe, snow plow, road striping machine, elephant truck (“That’s what they call the big machine that sucks up the leaves.”) and more—all in vibrant yellows, oranges and reds.
Karas puts a new spin on the seasonal picture book with this entertaining and original title. Children will find a diligent crew that works together (and plays together when time allows) to help the village run more smoothly. And they get to do it all on those cool trucks, too!