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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002

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  • Wednesday-Friday10 am-3 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 4 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm

Closed Monday and Tuesday

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Picture Books We Love

Stuck in the Mud!

Sometimes in early spring we can feel a little stuck. We want it to be sunny and warm but things aren't quite happening as quickly as we like. Or maybe, with all the rain and melting snow, we are quite literally stuck in the mud! Getting stuck in the mud is a pretty common theme in picture books. Often the scenario is the same, a bunch of animals pile into a truck, barrel down a muddy road and...you guessed it...get stuck. Even though the situation is the same, it doesn't keep each book from being wonderfully funny and silly in its own way. Here are some "stuck in the mud" favorites:

Duck in the Truck by Jez Alborough (Kane/Miller, 2008) Wonderful rhyme and wordplay, complemented with silly and bright illustrations, make this book an absolute joy to read aloud. Duck finds himself stuck in the mud and needs the help of a variety of different barnyard animals in their own transportation (a goat in a boat, a sheep in a jeep, etc) to help pull and push him out.

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw, illustrated by Margot Apple (Houghton Mifflin, 1986) Another wonderful book written in rhyme. A family of sheep squeeze into a tiny jeep for a ride, but these sheep are not the most conscientious of drivers! A variety of mishaps will keep preschoolers giggling and adults will love all the funny details added by illustrator Margot Apple. Two strong pigs help to push the jeep out of the mud (check out their tattoos) but once the sheep are back on the road, they find their troubles are not over yet!

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Jill McElmurry (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008) This sweet book combines a cast of barnyard animals with anthropomorphized cars. The friendly little blue truck is nice to all the animals as he casually drives down the road, but the big important dump truck honks rudely for everyone to get out of his way. When the big dump truck gets stuck in the mud, however, the little blue truck and the animals all work together to get him out, showing the true value of manners and friendship. This book is wonderfully designed with the shape of the text sometimes mirroring the action, bumping along or HONKING LOUDLY. (I especially love the illustration of the little blue truck tiny in the dump truck's rear view mirror!) The sound effects in the text make it a great book to read aloud, with your whole audience chiming in.

Pigs in the Mud in the Middle of the Rud by  Lynn Plourde, illustrated by John Schoenherr (Scholastic, 1997) The hilarious rhyming text of this book bounces along in this sort of cumulative tale, filled with funny slang and nonsense words to make everyone giggle. As a farm family tries to drive down the road, they find pigs in the mud blocking their way! One by one a family member gets out of the car to try to move an animal, but as the story progresses more and more farm animals are stuck in the mud - pigs, chickens, sheep, even a bull! - but they nothing the family does can get them to budge. Good think they have a spunky grandma to save the day! We all get stuck sometimes, but these books show that good friends are always there to help pull you out.

Do you have a favorite picture book about getting stuck in the mud? Tell us about it in a comment below!

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