by Jean Merrill
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
My roommate got me started on this one – she said she remembered a funny book from when she was younger and it was about food trucks in New York City, but couldn’t remember what it was called. I went to our catalog and typed in “food trucks new york” and this was the only result. I brought it home that evening and she took one look and said, that’s it! She reread it immediately and enjoyed it so much that I decided to read it too. Actually, I got the audiobook so I could listen in the car, and the guy who read it, though he mumbled, did amazing New York accents, one of which sounded JUST like my Brooklyn-born grandmother. But I digress.
The story starts out believably enough, with small-scale dissatisfaction and the banding together of the street vendors against the injustices of the big road bullies, the trucks. The action builds and builds until it’s gathering nation-wide attention and then you finally realize that this did not actually happen. But it’s because it’s so believable at first is what makes the story a good allegory for understanding war and conflict, and how things can rapidly escalate out of hand. Merrill also had me going with a fake introduction from a fake historian, and otherwise pretending to cite non-real historical documents, which was very clever. It’s also pretty rare to have a children’s book where all of the main characters are adults, but this one works quite well.