[tasty review] Food Truck Fest! by Alexandra Penfold and Mike Dutton

Kogi Short Rib Tacos


So, what do you fancy right this minute?

A little sushi, falafel, spicy chili, or a pulled pork sandwich? Wanna wrap your lips around some Brazilian barbecue, dim sum, kimchi tacos, Indian dosas or souvlaki?


Souvlaki GR, NYC


If you’re craving something sweet, there’s ice cream, Filipino halo-halo, cupcakes, frozen yogurt, red velvet pancakes, or mini donuts.


Mama’s Apple Cider Donut Bites


What’s that? You’d like a bite of everything? Well, you needn’t drive to a dozen places — just go to the Food Truck Fest!

Brooklyn author Alexandra Penfold and Google Doodles illustrator Mike Dutton joyfully invite readers to rustle up their appetites and sip, slurp, chew, lick and munch right through their tasty new picture book, Food Truck Fest! (FSG, 2018).

Told in rollicking rhyming couplets, this lipsmacking romp details an exciting and oh-so-satisfying outing featuring our favorite kitchens-on-wheels.

Over at the depot and up with the sun,
the food trucks get ready. Today will be fun!

Time to hustle, there’s prep work to do.
Bring in the groceries. Here comes the crew.

While the hipster crews get up and running, a family of four hurries through their morning routine.

Family’s up. It’s a hullabaloo.
First, get dressed. Where’s baby’s shoe?

The sky is clear. The weather’s great.
The lines get long. We can’t be late!

Let’s get moving, no time to rest.
Everybody’s going to the food truck fest!

The energy and anticipation are positively infectious as we see cooks stirring chili, flipping burgers, and firing up their grills. Busy, busy, busy, mixing, slicing, stirring, washing, drying.

The family loads up the car and takes to the road, joining the caravan of food trucks heading out of the city. After a quick ferry ride, everyone arrives at the festival site. The crowd’s pumped up, eager, rowdy, loud and hungry!

They wait in long lunch lines before settling down “with their hot dogs and ices, burritos, kebabs, pretzels and slices.” Yum!

But it’s about more than just the food. There’s rousing music, dancing, and a man making balloon animals. And don’t worry, there’s lots of ice cream and frozen yogurt to go around!

The best part of a food truck festival is its diversity — not only with the variety of foods being offered, but because of the people attending. Dutton’s mixed media illos depict a realistic, multi-ethnic crowd — people of all colors, sizes, shapes, and ages mingling, wandering the grounds, enjoying their al fresco treats. There’s a nice feeling of family togetherness as well as a spontaneous forging of community.

Food is what all humans have in common, after all, and it’s good to see food bringing people together. A festival such as this one is a positive socializing experience. People get to know each other while standing in line, sitting on the grass and relaxing, tasting samples, or showing off their best dance moves.

Kids will also see how hard the food truck crews work — up at dawn and doing a lot of prep even before the crowds arrive. It’s a wonder they can feed that many people from such small kitchens! And of course readers who love vehicles to begin with will enjoy seeing the different types of trucks, each with its own personality and “brand” to attract customers. I’d like to taste something from “Fro YoYo,” “Pho Sho,” and “Slow Your Roll.” 🙂

Penfold, who’s also co-written an adult food truck cookbook (New York à la Cart: Recipes & Stories from the Big Apple’s Best Food Trucks), has penned an upbeat, fun-to-read aloud text, easily convincing readers that a Food Truck Fest is one heck of a good time. Another cup of coconut coffee and two Belgian waffles, please!


written by Alexandra Penfold
illustrated by Mike Dutton
published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux BYR, March 2018
Picture Book for ages 2-6, 40 pp.


Rebecca Herzog is hosting the Roundup at Sloth Reads. Scamper on over to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere this week!


This post is also being linked to Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts. Put on your best aprons and bibs, and come join the fun!

*Interior spreads posted by permission of the publisher, text copyright © 2018 Alexandra Penfold, illustrations © 2018 Mike Dutton, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux BYR. All rights reserved.

*This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. When you purchase something using a link on this site, Jama’s Alphabet Soup receives a small referral fee (at no extra cost to you). Thanks for your continuing support!

**Copyright © 2018 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

42 thoughts on “[tasty review] Food Truck Fest! by Alexandra Penfold and Mike Dutton

  1. Appreciations for sharing this foods of the world-among-the-pages picture book, Jama.
    It calls me back to the several international eats feasts right in our own burbs,
    which we haven’t visited in a long time.

    And wow, learning about the real person behind the Google doodles. Bonus! And Alexandra Penfold!

    Also, today I have PET CRAZY at my Bookseedstudio site, which originated with a gift from YOU!
    A delicious weekend to your Family & You.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So nice to hear about how you in turn gifted Pet Crazy to a worthy recipient :). I was surprised to learn Mike Dutton was a Google doodler. We take the wonderful art for granted sometimes, never knowing who’s behind it.


  2. It’s definitely making me hungry! (Apple cider donuts are my favorite, Jama — how did you know?) Looks like a book kids would love to read over and over.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We have a food truck fest in Denver Jama, and it is fun to go to see what different foods one can try. It’s a new book to me, so thanks very much for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks, Jama, for sharing this review. I must get a copy of this book. Food carts (food trucks) have become popular in Portland. They say we have hundreds and most are organized into “Pods”–spaces on empty lots with general seating, etc. Here’s a website with an index for kinds of foods and also links to interactive maps with descriptions of locations — http://www.foodcartsportland.com/maps/ A couple years ago when our airport was undergoing renovations, they put food carts/trucks in to make a food court. It was quite novel … a fun area with a lot of personality.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the links, Alice! I’ve also visited a few other sites that list food truck festivals around the rest of the country. They are very popular!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my gosh, this is amazing!! We’ve been having a real explosion of food trucks here, inspired by our southern neighbors in Portland, and so little ones are growing up with food trucks all about, which is a delicious boon for all of us! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember food trucks from the old days in Hawaii (we called them lunch wagons). They’re still popular and like in many other places, have gone upscale. I still like the “mom and pop” homemade plate lunch ones, though.


  6. Jama, this is great! I’m always amazed when someone has an idea like this for book that’s so current and perfect and got to see it come to fruition in such a beautiful book. I am in love with the illustrations and how inclusive this book is for so many. And, it makes me hungry!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This book is definitely another winner for my two little foodie grand kids- can’t wait to get it for them. I live in South Florida near Haulover Park where we have a food truck fest every Tuesday night with music, fun, and mingling! We can walk there and we love it!! Thanks for another wonderful review

    Liked by 1 person

  8. How cute is that book — and I love the illustrations. We have maybe 2 food trucks in my area and there are never near me!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That book is so delightful, plus it makes me want go to a Food Truck Fest immediately, if not sooner. That would make a fun tour. Find out where they’re happening and go to several, or more…..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They post schedules for food truck fests online. There are several outfits that organize all the proprietors.


  10. I have yet to make it to one of the food truck fests here in New England. They attract so many people that I tend to shy away–I need my personal space! I’ve been to barbecue fests that are spread out over several fields and they’re easier to navigate. Yum!

    Liked by 1 person

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