Big Joe's Trailer Truck
by Joe Mathieu 1974 Random House
"First published in 1974, this best selling Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies follows Big Joe through a typical day's work."
- Google Books
I had been fascinated by trucks when I was a kid, especially when our family travelled across the country by car and I watched the big rigs flying along right next to us. I was also fascinated by a big truck driver named Mack when I was very young. He was, basically, the model for Big Joe. I changed his name from Big Mack to Big Joe so he wouldn't be confused with a hamburger! I drew trucks when I was in art school, too. I have a photo taken of me at that time posing in a big truck. I did a lot of research for Big Joe, but because I didn't have a good camera, I drew sketches of trucks at the trucking companies, and I drew the buildings and everything that was going on. I interviewed the truckers and showed them my sketches.
Many people have written to me over the years and I've had a lot of questions about the places visited by Big Joe. The town that Big Joe drives through is actually Putnam CT, the town where I grew up. The diner where Big Joe stops for bacon and eggs is based loosely on Zip's diner, just off rte. 395 in Dayville, CT. And Mel's Express Co. is just taken from my wife's name, Melanie!
This was my first attempt at writing. Much to my surprise, it did very well, and was translated into a number of languages! In Germany, Big Joe became Onkel Paul, and in Dutch, he's oom Joop! Today, Big Joe's Trailer Truck is available as an e-book on Nook.