A brown dog uses all sorts of fantastical vehicles to chase a pink cat through an interactive board book.
A blue mouse and a whistle-wielding parrot in a striped shirt also share each spread. On the first and last pages, additional cartoon critters cheer them on. The competition starts as a footrace before moving to cars, boats, a train, planes, and spaceships. Angry facial expressions clearly show the dog’s irritation with the cat’s consistent lead while also inadvertently suggesting that a pink character’s success is somehow unnatural. Halting, uneven rhymes never quite get up to speed. Vague instructions on the back cover to “Use the holes on each page to pop up, wiggle, and surprise your youngest readers” give little clue as to how exactly fingers should be placed. The holes are not consistently spaced; because there are often holes on either side of the gutter, it is not possible to deploy all at one time. The design appears to take no account of what is glimpsed through the holes, and they often reveal a confusing jumble rather than leading to a well-planned surprise or even simply giving a hint as to what will be seen when the page is turned. Active children are likely to take advantage of the die-cut holes to turn pages before the text can be read. The final “everyone wins” message makes for a disappointing, confusing finish.
Give this race the red flag. (Board book. 1-3)