Books by J. Winslow Higginbottom

LUCKY CHUCK by J. Winslow Higginbottom
Released: March 28, 1984

The cautionary tale of a teenage cyclist who flouts the Motor Vehicle Code—in picture-book format and spoofy Dick-and-Jane form. Exactly who is meant to make what use of this odd item is a puzzlement. The publishers age it, like the run of picture-books, 4—8. But it's full of technical information and technical lingo, and, with its close-up drawings of the motorcycle's parts, it does obviously intend to be a guide to motorcycle operation. At the same time, the mock-primerese—"This is Chuck's motorcycle-driver's license. He earned it by studying the Motor Vehicle Code and passing a driver's test. . . . This is Chuck's mother worrying about Chuck and his motorcycle"—has a satirical tone out-of-sync with both the technical detail and Chuck's reckless driving. "Now Chuck is riding down the white line in the center of the pavement. He is having such a good time he forgets the Motor Vehicle Code. What does it know about fun?" A little later: "This is a rearview mirror that reflects the Highway Patrol chasing Chuck with blinking lights. Ooo-ee! Ooo-ee! Now Chuck remembers the Motor Vehicle Code." Later still: "This is unlucky Chuck skidding on the gravel and laying it down. Thump! Bump! Chuck flies off his bike into some weeds. Yowl Ouch! There may be some kids around nine or ten, who'll recognize the Cleary name, think fondly of mouse Ralph, see the authentic motorcycle poop, and lap it all up. But the book resembles nothing so much as a public-service offering from the motorcycle folk, jollied up for popular appeal. Read full book review >