When a mucky stretch of road traps one, two, three, four, five cars, it’s the tow truck to the rescue!
Carter combines shiny, bright pop-up vehicles of diverse sorts driven by a uniformly golden cast of flop-eared spaniels with a rollicking commentary in which the words “stuck” and “muck” figure prominently. There’s cleverer wordplay too: “The police car is under arrest. / The race car is in the pits. / This vacation might be a staycation. / We’re all stuck!” But as soon as the first car, with its family of travelers, bogs down, the dog matriarch can be seen on her cellphone—plainly summoning the tow truck that finally shows up and, with a pull on the large tab, starts the unsticking. The muck isn’t very mucky (the freed cars that speed off at the end with polite “thank you"s are as squeaky clean as they were at first sight), but readers may find opening die-cut car doors, a flashing police light, and other special effects offer compensatory diversions. This is not as dazzling as many of Carter’s creations, but with relatively few effects, it may last a little bit longer in small hands.
A cheery 3-D take on a popular premise, with reasonably durable moving parts. (Pop-up picture book. 3-5)