This tale’s light humor and unexpected premise will encourage empathy and appreciation for artistic flights of fancy.


Arthur Zarr's Amazing Art Car

A shy, solitary old man finds friendship and community when he decorates cars in this charming children’s picture book.

No one notices elderly, quiet Arthur Zarr until he embarks on a creative enterprise involving modified “art cars,” but soon, he gets the whole neighborhood involved. It all starts when he discovers a large acorn and decides to display it on the hood of his car. No one notices his first foray into car décor, but it does kindle his own interest. Before long, his car sports tin cans on the front bumper and a blue, smiley-face ball on the antenna. When he drives to his local farmers market, he receives smiles and some daisies to put in his bumper’s tin cans. “Pretty soon, more people began to notice Arthur and his not-so-plain car,” says the narrator, and more decorations come his way, including dangly earrings, a plastic flamingo wearing goggles, old neckties, coins, and a jack-in-the-box. When Arthur competes in an “Art Car Parade” down Main Street, all his new friends, young and old, cheer him on before the story’s touching finale. Author Nickell (Uniting Faith, Medicine and Healthcare, 2015) has fun with the art-car concept while also offering a gentle subtext about the importance of community and human connection and the enriching value of artistic expression. Illustrator Megenhardt’s (The Jolly Dinosaur Carnival, 2015, etc.) pleasing illustrations stretch across each page in an imaginative mix of gray and brightly colored pencil as Arthur’s happiness grows and as his car becomes more outlandish. A page of information about art cars, art parades, and the Art Car Museum in Houston follows the story, along with a two-page illustration that features each of Arthur’s car decorations as a letter of the alphabet.

This tale’s light humor and unexpected premise will encourage empathy and appreciation for artistic flights of fancy. 

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9961150-0-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Twenty-Eight Creative

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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Like the quiet lap of waves on the sand, the alternating introspections of two Bahamian island children in 1492. Morning Girl and her brother Star Boy are very different: she loves the hush of pre-dawn while he revels in night skies, noise, wind. In many ways they are antagonists, each too young and subjective to understand the other's perspective—in contrast to their mother's appreciation for her brother. In the course of these taut chapters concerning such pivotal events as their mother's losing a child, the arrival of a hurricane, or Star Boy's earning the right to his adult name, they grow closer. In the last, Morning Girl greets— with cordial innocence—a boat full of visitors, unaware that her beautifully balanced and textured life is about to be catalogued as ``very poor in everything,'' her island conquered by Europeans. This paradise is so intensely and believably imagined that the epilogue, quoted from Columbus's diary, sickens with its ominous significance. Subtly, Dorris draws parallels between the timeless chafings of sibs set on changing each other's temperaments and the intrusions of states questing new territory. Saddening, compelling—a novel to be cherished for its compassion and humanity. (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1992

ISBN: 1-56282-284-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...


With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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