Cover image for The old truck
The old truck
1st ed.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm.
Added Author:
On a small family farm, an old truck falls into disrepair and lies nearly forgotten, except by the family's daughter. The truck is been part of her daydreams as she grows up and develops strength and independence. As an industrious young woman, she pulls the rusted and overgrown vehicle from its almost-grave and restores it. --


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When is an old truck something more? On a small, bustling farm, a resilient and steadfast pickup works tirelessly alongside the family that lives there, and becomes a part of the dreams and ambitions of the family's young daughter.After long days and years of hard work leave the old truck rusting in the weeds, it's time for the girl to roll up her sleeves. Soon she is running her own busy farm, and in the midst of all the repairing and restoring, it may be time to bring her faithful childhood companion back to life.With an eye-catching retro design and cleverly nuanced illustrations, The Old Truck celebrates the rewards of determination and the value of imagination.

Author Notes

Jerome Pumphrey is an illustrator and a graphic designer at The Walt Disney Company. Originally from Houston, he now lives in Austin, Texas.

Jarrett Pumphrey is an author/illustrator and the former CEO of a tech startup. Originally from Houston, he now lives in Austin, Texas.

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

In the Pumphrey brothers' debut, an old truck's maturation mirrors a brown-skinned girl's growth into adulthood. "On a small farm, an old truck worked hard," the narrative begins as illustrations reveal the family's corresponding exertion, loading bushel baskets filled with veggies into the truck's bed. As "the old truck rested," weeds slowly covering its wheels, then its body, it also serves as a vehicle for the child's imagination ("The old truck sailed the seas,/ braved the skies,/ and chased the stars"). As the young woman matures, she finishes rebuilding a tractor she began working on with her father, becomes "a new farmer," and employs the tractor in towing the truck, then restoring it. The narrative comes full circle as the old truck, now repainted and running, works hard once again alongside the farmer and her own daughter. The illustrations, created from more than 250 stamps, resonate in spare compositions and mellow earth tones. A celebration of diligence and grit, the quiet text conjures a cyclical Giving Tree--reminiscent relationship, but with a healthier, deeply loving dynamic. Ages 3--5. (Jan.)

Horn Book Review

The author-illustrator brothers tell the story of a family farm and the truck that assists with chores. As the hard-working truck ages, so does the farming couples young daughter. The two are a pair, making this story, despite the title, as much hers as it is the vehicles. The Pumphreys allow their retro, earth-toned illustrations room to breathe in an uncluttered, gently paced presentation. Rendered via a mixture of low-tech (hand carved stamps...) and high (...which are then digitally manipulated), the illustrations are infused with cheer (the farmers are always smiling) and playfulness. As a young child, the girl imagines spectacular adventures with the sturdy truck. In a series of three spreads, as she sleeps snug in her bed, we are privy to her dreamsof her and the shape-shifting truck on the ocean, in the air, and in space. As an adult, she becomes the new farmer who pulls the tired, neglected truck out of the weeds to rehabilitate it. Its refreshing to see an African American farming family depicted in a picture book, as well as determined, resilient women who farm. The final spread shows a child (who appears to be the womans daughter) on the bed of the newly remodeled truck, representing the next generation of industrious farmers. Julie Danielson March/April 2020 p.68(c) Copyright 2020. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Featuring spare, simply rendered prose and illuminated by bright, lovely art, this endearing picture book follows a beloved farm truck over the years, alongside the experiences of the daughter of the farm family. On a small farm, an old truck worked hard, the story opens, as a Black family loads up the cheery red truck with produce on a spring morning and unpacks empty bushels as fall rolls in. Nightfall brings sleep and dreams, as the truck and the girl embark on fanciful adventures together, exploring ocean, sky, and beyond. However, gradually, the truck falls into disrepair, and the detailed illustrations progressively show time passing snowy bare-branch trees bloom in spring; the girl grows taller; the barn fades from red to sandy brown. Eventually, on a small farm, a new farmer worked hard, and readers see the girl, now an adult, working the farm independently and successfully restoring the truck. Then, recalling the opening scene, the Pumphreys depict the truck again being filled with produce by the woman, alongside her own daughter. The blocky, bright, folk art-style illustrations, composed of prints made from handmade stamps, judiciously use color and composition to deepen and extend the narrative, emphasizing both a sense of change as well as continuity and interconnectedness. This affectionate, pithy, and eloquent homage to farm life and, quietly, Black families running farms, a rare sight in picture books is uncommonly charming and rewards repeat readings.--Shelle Rosenfeld Copyright 2019 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1--The Pumphrey brothers crafted more than 250 individual stamps to create splendid retro, full-bleed illustrations to accompany the saga of a farm truck's life. The red pickup is a mainstay in the family, as a young girl helps her parents with crops and critters. When the vehicle is no longer reparable, it sits abandoned near her bedroom window. She dreams of it converting into a tow for her submarine, a helicopter, or taking her to outer space. The girl grows up as the book progresses. The truck is covered by snow, then foliage, then disappears into long grasses. Many seasons later, the young woman restores the truck to assist her own running of the farm. VERDICT The simple text in this gentle chronicle of years blazes with the power of family, determination, and perseverance.--Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA

Kirkus Review

The eponymous old truck serves as the vehicle for a quiet story about farm life and hard work.Brothers Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey created over 250 stamps to create the striking illustrations that give the book a distinct look and echo the message of hard work and persistence pouring from it. The declarative simplicity of the text is perfect for an emerging reader without betraying the strength of the story. As the book describes how hardworking the truck is, readers see the smiling, brown-skinned parents and daughter, wordlessly at work. The family can be seen loading produce onto the truck, carrying baskets back into the barn, feeding chickens, and fixing the truck. The placement of the sun on the horizon line demonstrates how long the family works each day. At night, the daughter dreams: "The old truck sailed the seas, / braved the skies, / and chased the stars." As the truck ages, so does the family; most notably, readers see the girl grow into a woman. Now "the new farmer," she tows the truck out of tall grass. She works long into the night to repair it. But dreams and persistence pay off: "VROOOOOOOM!!" This heartfelt celebration of resilience in the face of change, with a determined black woman at its center, packs a powerful punch.As the old truck stays with its family, this charming book will stay with readers. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.