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UNDER THE HOOD by Christophe  Merlin


by Christophe Merlin, illustrated by Christophe Merlin

Age Range: 5 - 7

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5535-8
Publisher: Candlewick

In this witty, flap-happy episode, a crew of lazy mechanics fix Mr. Bear’s car—but only temporarily.

Reminiscent of The Elephant’s Wish (1959) and other Bruno Munari classics, each card-stock leaf features cartoon scenes created with what look like unevenly inked woodcuts and, to create visual punch lines, large nested flaps to lift. Mr. Bear must roust out an overall-clad mouse, trace his car’s strange noise to a flatulent crocodile hiding in the boot and, in a foldout spread, place the vehicle on a hoist to spot an oil leak. Mr. Bear then packs up his openable toolbox and takes a spin—past an armored car (driven by robbers), a low-rider with elevator shocks and other traffic. Then an ill-advised race with an elephant motorcyclist ends in a cloud of smoke, and it’s time to call the tow truck. Captioned with brief and largely superfluous comments or exclamations, the art, despite its retro look, will amuse younger readers and pre-readers alike with its low-tech interactivity and annoyed ursine protagonist.

A droll visit to a garage that’s anything but five-star. (Lift-the-flap picture book. 5-7)