Garland’s little red car invites children along for a ride to reading success.
Opening endpapers show an aerial view of a Levittown-like setting with a single driveway occupied by a car. The title page zooms in on this home, with the car facing the reader, its headlights like eyes and its fender a subtle smile. That expression is amplified in the closer view on the first page of the book proper, with the simple text “Car looks good.” But when the car ventures out to “go far,” it ends up becoming quite a mess after mud, smoke, and birds sully its shiny, red body. “Car does not look good now,” reads the controlled text. “Car is sad.” Happily, Car is also resourceful and heads off to a carwash. Simple lines—“Car gets wet. Splash, splash. / Car gets suds. // Car gets a rub. Mmmmmmm”—see it getting clean again. Closing endpapers picture the car driving back through the suburban neighborhood again, its bright yellow headlights echoing the lights in the houses. Digital illustrations may make some children think of Pixar’s Cars films, particularly in scenes where Car’s facial expressions are strongest and most humorous—as when the birds make their mess.
An inviting, accessible title for new readers. (Early reader. 5-7)