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Gus's Garage


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About the Author

Leo Timmers was born in 1970 in Belgium. At the age of 12 he started to draw comics. Trained in graphic design, he illustrates for Belgian magazines and papers as well as illustrating picture books. He now has a large following in Belgium as a preeminent picture book author.


Gus the pig, the good-natured star of Leo Timmers's Gus's Garage (Gecko, $16.99; ages 3 to 8) also knows his cars and, as his ever-present smile attests, delights in inventing new ones. When a penguin overheats or a hare needs a turb charge they turn to Gus, who customizes their vehicles using the pile of 'bits and bobs' heaped alongside his shop. Each page spread presents the garage from the same vantage point, and this well-crafted stage set allows the reader to track the refuse pile's dwindling inventory. By the end of the book only a little tree stands where the pile once stood. The tree provides a home for an odd assortment of birds, proving once again that everything can be made useful. This is an amusing book to reread, since even the smallest details are assigned a narrative purpose. Clearly, one animal's clutter is another pig's livelihood in this buoyant, rhyming tale.--The New York Times Book Review

-- "Newspaper"

Returning to the vehicular focus of Bang and Who's Driving? Timmers introduces a string of animals who drive quirky cars and a good-natured pig mechanic who makes them even quirkier. Gus has a one-pump garage in the middle of nowhere and a stash of greasy, worn-out parts. "Whatever will he use them for?" Timmers wonders. A rhino in biker gear drives up on a too-small scooter:: "Gus, this seat--I'm overflowing." Gus always says the same thing: "Let's see. I have some bits and bobs. / This goes with that. There. Just the job!" A patched-up armchair, an extra rear wheel, and the rhino has a comfy new seat. To warm Gina, a giraffe, in her convertible, Gus combines a wood-burning stove with a stack of metal drums to make a towering heating system. A walrus gets hydration from a rooftop bathtub, and a penguin's roadster gains a pink refrigerator to keep her cool. Amid all the fun, the emphasis is on imaginative tweaking, reusing things, and cheerful help, selflessly given. Mechanically minded readers will want to do what Gus does; other will wish he lived next door.

-- "Journal"

The author of Franky (2016) now offers another tale for young tinkerers and gadget-lovers. Each item in the pile of discarded junk that Gus--portrayed as an increasingly grimy pig in mechanics' overalls--keeps out behind his service station comes in handy as one motorist after another wheels in needing a fix: Rico the rhino, for example, is too big for his Vespa ('Gus, this seat--I'm overflowing'). Gina the giraffe is too cold in her roofless Volkswagen, Walter the walrus and Miss P. the penguin are too hot, and Henry the hare's delivery truck needs a power boost. Whatever the problem, Gus has a patterned response ('Let's see. I have some bits and bobs. / This goes with that. There. Just the job!') and a clever solution. Come nightfall, Gus simultaneously washes and wheels himself home on a bicycle-shower that incorporates a last few 'bits and bobs.' Recycling with flair: just the job!--Booklist

-- "Journal"

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