What type of crayon would you use to color a pneumatic screwdriver? What about a power-and-free conveyor? Grade-school kids coloring scenes from a truck assembly line have 120 different options, including such Crayola colors as Banana Mania and Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown.
Thousands of children face that dilemma when they open up a 16-page coloring book that illustrates how a Kenworth W900 is assembled. The W900 is one of several trucks built at the company's Renton, WA, plant, which is the recipient of ASSEMBLY magazine's inaugural Assembly Plant of the Year award.
The unique coloring book was created by Truck Buddy International (Waupaca, WI), a nonprofit organization that promotes a positive image of the interstate trucking industry. Trucker Buddy matches professional drivers with elementary school classrooms. Each week, drivers send postcards, letters or e-mail messages as they share their experiences from the road with students.
"It helps kids improve their geography, math and writing skills," says Ellen Voie, executive director. "Kids and trucks go together well." According to Voie, the 12-year-old Trucker Buddy program interacts with more than 4,000 schools in the United States.
Kenworth Truck Co. (Kirkland, WA) was directly involved in creating the coloring book, which features a fictional pair of professional drivers, Bob and Ann, watching their new truck being assembled. "We hope this product will help educate students on how a tractor is made and the steps involved before it can be placed on the road," says Steve Gilligan, general marketing manager.
In addition to featuring Kenworth trucks, the coloring book contains an automated transmission from ArvinMeritor Inc. (Troy, MI) and a diesel engine from Caterpillar Inc. (Peoria, IL), both in the process of being installed in the truck. In another scene, a set of tires from Bridgestone Corp. (Tokyo) is installed on the vehicle.
"Each of these corporations was generous in providing support to the Trucker Buddy program," says Voie. "By including them in the coloring book, we can offer them exposure to our drivers, teachers and students."
Jim Hibbs, a former over-the-road driver, visited Kenworth and watched trucks being assembled before he drew the illustrations. "Hibbs' background gave him a special insight that allowed him to draw the tractor, engine and transmission with accurate features," claims Voie.