Honk Honk! Beep Beep!

by Daniel Kirk
Hyperion Books, August 2010
Honk Honk

Book Description
Father and child love going for a ride around town in their car. Along the way, they’ll see a crew of friendly faces in their own fun vehicles – big rigs, bulldozers, even trains. But everyone has somewhere to be and things to do, so make sure to buckle up! With playful text and bold illustrations, Daniel Kirk captures the fun of a cross-country drive.

Reviews of Honk Honk! Beep Beep!

Review from Publishers Weekly
It’s that time of night when toys come alive, so a father and son from a dollhouse hop into their jaunty red jeep and head to the windowsill to watch the sunrise. The duo (who are very much in the Playmobil vein, with spherical heads, painted-on features, and fingerless hands) has no qualms about picking up hitchhikers, and the jeep is soon overstuffed with all kinds of passengers, including two improbably spotted rabbits, a farmer and his sheep, a stranded monkey motorist, a doggie road crew finished with their shift, and a herd of puffy sheep and their shepherd. Fans of Kirk’s vehicular books with Kevin Lewis (My Truck Is Stuck!; Tugga-Tugga-Tugboat) will find this solo effort very much in keeping with its predecessors. There’s a bouncy rhyme with a nifty onomatopoetic refrain (“Road crew working up ahead./ Lights are flashing, orange and red./ Traffic slows down to a creep./ ‘We’re losing time!’/HONK HONK! BEEP BEEP!”). And of course, there’s Kirk’s magical, sculptural oil renderings, which capture all the plasticine cheer of beloved playthings. Ages 2-5. 

Review from Booklist
Bright colors, a rhythmic text, and an imaginative premise make this a winner for kids just starting to find fun in books. Reminiscent of the Toy Story movies, here a young boy’s toys awaken before he does: a toy father and son take their jeep for a ride, honking and beeping their way through the child’s room, visiting and picking up various other playthings, including stuffed bunnies, workers at a construction site, and more. They make it to the top of a “mountain” (the child’s windowsill) in time for sunrise. The final spread, bathed in sunny yellow, pictures the child, seemingly giant-sized, waking up behind the toys arrayed in the window. The spacious layout and oversize typeface make the story accessible to the youngest readers and listeners, who will want to call out the noisy refrain. Kids who like cars, trucks, and trains will enjoy this adventurous trip; grown-ups should plan to come along repeatedly for the ride. Preschool-Kindergarten. –Diane Foote

Daniel Kirk speaks about Honk Honk! Beep Beep!
Ever since I illustrated Chugga Chugga Choo Choo, I have wanted to make another book that involved toy vehicles in a child’s bedroom.
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Finally, I’ve done it! I love painting toys, so it was a lot of fun to make this book. It gave me a chance to research different toys, and think about how I could make a story about playthings that is as interesting as a story about real people would be.

In Chugga Chugga Choo Choo, the text of the book never tells us that we’re looking at toys; it’s the pictures that show us. I wanted to do the same thing in my new book. I thought and thought about what a toy car might do, late at night in a boy’s room, while the boy is asleep. I remembered a vacation that I took to New Hampshire, years ago. Some friends of mine told me that the sunrise looked really beautiful from the mountaintop, so I agreed to get up VERY early in the morning with them and make the trek to the top of the mountain. The view was awesome, and it was so lovely to hear the birds sing as I watched the sky changing colors.

I decided this would be a good goal for my toy father and son and their friends. But how could I show the sunrise in a child’s room? The toys would have to make it into the window, so they could look out and see the world. That’s how I came up with the story for Honk Honk!  Beep Beep! [/expand]

Things to think about and do, once you have read Honk Honk! Beep Beep!
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  1. Have you ever been up and out of the house before dawn? Where were you headed? Did you ever take a special trip with mom or dad where you had to get up really early, and if so, what was it like?
  2. Why is early morning sometimes a good time to get going? How do things look different at that time of day? How does it make you feel to be doing things while the rest of the world is still asleep?
  3. If you were going to go somewhere at dawn, where would it be? The beach? They country? Grandma’s house?
  4. If your favorite toys got up and played while you were sleeping, where would they go? Which toys would stay put, and which ones would want to be on the move?

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