Skid & the Too Tiny Tunnel by Jeffery Stoddard

-Reviewed by Scott Asher of AshertopiA

Skid, the smallest tractor on the job, wishes he was as big and mighty as the gigantic bulldozers and diggers. The large tractors dismiss the tiny Skid, telling him that he has a “putt-putt engine.” But when a cave in strikes and the only way to save Pillar, the biggest bulldozer, is to go into a tiny hole filled with darkness, Skid has a chance to prove himself.

Stoddard tells our children the same story that they’ve heard over and again: just because you’re little doesn’t mean you aren’t [special, big hearted, important, fill in the blank.] The only twist that the Skid stories bring is that the characters are all construction vehicles. The impact of that choice can’t be ignored though as every small boy will be immediately enthralled by the also-ran story… but with tractors!

My four year old son loved Skid. From the moment I opened up the brightly colored, whimsical pages he was mesmerized. I was worried that he wouldn’t sit still long enough on each page to get through the dense narrative (there are multiple paragraphs of narrative on each page) but he did. As far as little boys go, Skid is a hit.

As for adults – maybe not so much. The book is billed as a story of Deuteronomy 31:6,

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (NIV)

However, the verses don’t match the story well as not a single time did the concept of God or prayer, in any way, come up during the narrative. Skid faces his fears on his own and overcomes them under his own power. There is no indication that Skid acknowledges or understands or leaned on God going with him or not forsaking him. This isn’t much of a problem if taking the narrative on its own. But with the Bible verse prominently on the cover and the book clearly marketed to Christians the lack of anything about God in the content of the story is disappointing.

Overall, Skid is successful in entertaining young boys, but doesn’t cover any new ground and fails to live up to the promise of a Bible tie in. Tepidly recommended.

This book was supplied by the publisher via netgalley.com as a review copy.