#537 – The New Old Truck by Jennifer Somervell & Margery Fern


The New Old Truck

by Jennifer Somervell & Margery Fern, illustrator

Tales from the Farm Publications          2013, 2014


Abe 4 to 8         38 pages


“Old truck backfires, graunches gears, won’t start and often has to be towed. Retired, rejected and shut up in the shed, he feels old and useless. Is this the end for Old Truck? Then brother John comes home . . . “


“Old Truck loved to work. He was happy carting soil. He was excited carting hay. He loved carting children.”

The Story

Old Truck has worked the family farm for many years. Now, he is getting too old to work like it used to, often needing a tow from Blue Truck. Blue Truck was tired of rescuing Old Truck and Dad said it was time to retire Old Truck and get a new one. Despite much opposition from his children, Dad went out looking for a new truck. He came home with nothing new, having gien in to his children. Blue Truck would have to handle the load. Old Truck was retired to the shed, where it sat. One child had been missing. One John came home he asked about Old Truck. Would he be able to help the old, tired, out-of-date truck?

kids riding


Based in a true story, The New Old Truck retells the story of a family’s beloved old-fashioned truck, about to be retired. Old Truck had been a useful truck, but needed replaced with a modern truck. All the kids objected. They loved to ride in Old Truck; one of the first trucks ever built. It had a hand crank, which is not always included in the illustrations. In general, the illustrations are smart, extremely detailed, and are nicely colored. The one-dimensional characters remind me of the thin magnetic “paper dolls” of old that stuck to a special board. Beyond this, the illustrations will entertain young children as the Old Truck goes from a tired, worn-out machine to a crisp sharp machine ready to beat any truck of any age.

Sentences are short and simply structured, making it easy for children to read. There is a lot of dialogue, mostly of the children protesting, which can be fun to read aloud. There is a little confusion with Old Truck’s savior. John is there, protesting with the others, when Old Truck is retired to the shed. An unspecified amount of time passes, Old Truck is a mess and,

“Then one day John came home.”

This sentence implies John had not been around; had not been home. Yet he was. John was around when all the kids, including himself, protested the retirement of Old Truck and the purchasing a new truck. I think this might confuse the children who notice John had been around. How can, “one day John came home?” When did he leave? Where did he go? Why didn’t he rescue the Old Truck earlier? Picky? Maybe, but continuity is important in a story, including knowing where your characters are at all times. If John was there when Old Truck was retired, and he was, then he should know where Old Truck is when he returns.

kidds told of new truck

Young boys will love the story of Old Truck. Old Truck likes carrying around kids, has a nice smile, and often farts, causing black smoke to trail behind it. What little boy wouldn’t love that? Blue Truck is actually rather boring in comparison, though much nicer looking truck. When restored, Old Truck is so beautiful everyone around wants a ride. This shows how much we like our histories and want them to live on. This simple truck spoke of a simpler time; many would like a return to that time.

Parents will appreciate the short history, after the story, including original pictures. Manufactured in Michigan, the 1921 Model 10 Republic truck journeyed to New Zealand, where the author and illustrator’s grandfather bought it in 1938. The truck worked on the family dairy farm until it was retired. The real John restored the truck several times, finally showing the 91-year-old truck at a vintage rally in 2012. There is beautiful photograph of the family farm, showing the snowy Ruahines Mountain Range (New Zealand), in the background. Also included is glossary of words special to Old Truck, such as chassis, crank handle, and graunch (the loud, grating noise of gears not smoothly moving).

old rretired to shed


THE NEW OLD TRUCK. Text copyright © 2013 by Jennifer Somervell. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Margery Fern. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Tales from the farm Publications, Oxford, NZ.

Learn more about The New Old Truck HERE.

.Buy at author / illustrator website.

Meet the author, Jennifer Somervell and illustrator, Margery Fern at her website: Tales from the Farm Productions:   http://www.talesfromthefarm.co.nz/



The Purple Dragonfly Book Awards

 1st place in Picture Books 6 & Older,

1st Place in Best Cover Design,

2nd place in Historical Fiction

Honorable Mentions in Picture Books 5 & Younger and Interior Design.

Also by Jennifer Somervell & Margery Fern

The Day Dad Blew up the Cowshed



new old truck


13 thoughts on “#537 – The New Old Truck by Jennifer Somervell & Margery Fern

      • I personally don’t have any particular affinity for trucks. I myself don’t like riding in our truck. And I’m always scared for dogs I see riding in the backs of trucks. I do like road trips in whatever vehicle. Going on adventures. Truck books on the other hand always seem to be filled with some kind of adventure. Truck BOOKS are fun!


  1. The basic premise first brought to mind the beloved “Otis” books 🙂 It also made me think of my great grandfather when he’s drive us around in a wagon hauled by a tractor 😀


    • The truck reminded me of the fruit and vegetable trucks that used to drive around neighborhoods when I was too young to remember this, but do anyway. I remember the milk in bottles just showing up on grandma’s doorstep, too. Odd, those two things never happened in the suburb (the brand new suburb) only in the city. [early 1960’s] Always thought they were the coolest trucks.


  2. This kind of reminds me of the Disney cartoon “Susie the Little Blue Coupe.” 🙂 Sounds like a cute book. My Uncle is restoring a truck he found in a junk yard that was owned by my great grandfather. It’s pretty cool.


    • He found a truck in a junkyard and it happened to be your great grandfather’s? What are the odds of that? Wait, was it the junkyard owned by great-grandfather? Whichever it is, I like the song and think your Uncle should name the truck after the song: “Little Blue.” ❗


  3. They don’t make them like they used to! I love that the old beloved truck was restored and that the book is based on a true story! Constructive review, Sue!


    • Hello, Lobo. It is nice to see you here. No pack today? YOu might need to hitch a ride on this restored truck to get back to your pack before the leader notices you gone. But I am glad you are here. 🙂


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