Small Walt and Mo the Tow

Small Walt and Mo the Tow

Genre: Picture Books
Tags: fiction, story, transportation
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Year: 2018
Format: Hardcover Picture Book
Length: 40 pages
Illustrator: Marc Rosenthal
ASIN: 1481466607
ISBN: 9781481466608

A bitter blizzard. A snowbound town. When a car skids off the road, Small Walt and Gus might not have what it takes to save the day on their own. But who does? Mo the Tow to the rescue!


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About the Book

Small Walt befriends a tow truck when he comes across a car in need of help in this irresistible companion to Small Walt.

We’re Gus and Walt
We plow and we salt
We clear the snow so the
Cars can go!

Text filled with onomatopoeia and Walt’s affirming chants make this story about friendship and accepting help from others a real winner.

Downloadable Activities

Small Walt and Mo the Tow

Small Walt makes a new friend in the book Small Walt and Mo the Tow. You’ve probably guessed who that is: Mo the Tow Truck! Together, these two trucks make a ruckus, and they help each other with goals. You can set a goal yourself, using this reproducible activity sheet.

Remember, Walt has little chants or cheers in each of his books, so he can encourage himself to get the job done. (My name is Walt/I plow and I salt/They say I’m small/but I’ll show them all.) You can cheer yourself on by coming up with a Power Phrase to write down on the road that goes from START to FINISH. But first, fill in the road signs using these instructions:

How to do the Activity Sheet:

  1. Write your GOAL. A goal is something you will try to do or achieve.
  2. Set a date to start.
  3. Ask a helper to help.
  4. Write how you feel about your goal.
  5. Plan the steps you need to take.
  6. See START on that road to success? Fill it with your Power Phrase. Now, go-go-go!

Sample Power Phrases:

I’ve set my goal, and I’m ready to roll!

I’ve got heart, and I’m ready to start!

I’ll do my best on the road to sucess!

Yours can rhyme or not rhyme—it’s up to you.

Picture Books by Elizabeth Verdick

Bike & Trike
Peep Leap
Small Walt
Small Walt and Mo the Tow
Small Walt Spots Dot
Picture Books About Cars, Trucks and Other Things That Clank, Roar and Move Fast

SMALL WALT AND MO THE TOW (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, 40 pp., $17.99; ages 4 to 8), from Elizabeth Verdick and Marc Rosenthal, is the follow-up to (yes) “Small Walt,” in which snowplow Walt, with driver Gus, earns a spot alongside the big plows, despite doubts about Walt’s size. In this outing, Walt and Gus, making their rounds, see a car skid into a snow-filled ditch. Can they help? Despite his can-do spirit, Walt must now learn to deal with his limitations: “My plow is tough, / but it’s not enough.” The, from over the horizon, appears Mo the Tow, driven by “the lady in blue — Sue.” (Are women in blue a trend?) Mo and Sue are the pair with the hardware and skills to perform this rescue — except it turns out they can’t quite reach the stranded car; first they’ll need some snow cleared. Are Walt and Gus up to it? No spoliers. Suffice to say all these characters have something useful they like to do and that they do well, and each has limits, too, making this a story about teamwork as well as pluck. Verdick and Rosenthal may not be clearing new ground with these lessons, but what they plow, they plow well. The characters are appealing, and the language is active and satisfying, with plenty of onomatopoeia. Good luck saying RUGGAROOOM BRUMMAHUM 10 times fast, but your audience will enjoy hearing you try.

The flap copy tells us that “Small Walt” has been called “reminiscent of Virginia Burton’s classics,” and this book will be, too; the cover design practically dares you not to think of “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.” Rosenthal’s drawings feel like a contemporary take on Burton’s spirit, though, rather than something derivative: Burton, after an espresso. The lines and colors are direct, cheerful and effective. They look like the work of someone in a good mood, and it put me in a good mood to look at them. [Read the full review.]
Starred Review

Walt—a small but powerful, friendly-faced snowplow—continues to work with his driver, Gus. How can they help a green car that has gone off the road? Fans of Small Walt (2017) will not be disappointed. Along with a new, simple-but-satisfying plot, a few new characters, and new, whimsical motor noises, the text includes the winning refrain readers will recall from their earlier encounter with the team: “We’re Gus and Walt. / We plow and we salt. / We clear the snow / so the cars can go!” This time, the pair is clearing a road “slick with ice” when they see a green car slide into a ditch. Walt is eager to scoop up the car, but Gus warns him to wait, as plows are for snow only. As Gus lends a hand to the green car’s driver, Walt hears the “brumm-brumm-humma-hum” of Mo the Tow. Sue—a “lady in blue”—steers Mo toward the green car to tow it. Snow has been falling steadily, and the green car’s owner sits in Gus’ cab to stay warm. Before the story ends, Walt and Gus must rumble into action to help Mo and Sue drive close enough to rescue the car. Special kudos for the gender-stereotype–defying scenes of Sue confidently hitching and driving Mo. Delightful, retro artwork and clever text offer another tribute to teamwork and friendship. Gus is depicted with pale skin and Sue and the green car’s driver with brown. Three dynamic duos: Gus and Walt; Sue and Mo; Verdick and Rosenthal. (Picture book. 3-6)
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