OUR CAR by J.M. Brum


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 2 - 5
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A child describes the family vehicle in this simple, colorful introduction to cars imported from Poland.

On the front cover, a small figure in a lime-green shirt leans over the back of a convertible, holding a string that extends over the book’s spine to the back cover, where it’s tied to a lime-green balloon bearing the words “What is your car like?” The young balloon-holder sets out to model an answer to that very question, the art using bold colors and simple, evocative shapes (in what appear to be chalk or oil pastel) to share basic car-related concepts, including maintenance and driving protocol. Each spread puts one vocabulary word (rendered in exaggeratedly large, black letters in the hand-lettered text) in context: “Sometimes, the engine screeches like a wild animal. / Then the mechanic has to take a look….” The illustrations whimsically support this, as the hood morphs subtly to resemble the open, toothed jaws of a ferocious beast. Carefully considered formatting and design also support the narrative: The landscape format echoes the car’s shape, and the illustrations at times wink at their own construction—a smear of pigment represents the car moving through wind, and white lines resembling eraser marks appear on the car when the family washes it. All human figures throughout the book are the same shade of hot pink and wear fairly gender-ambiguous clothing; the child’s father is the only person explicitly referred to by gendered pronouns in the text.

A playful visual twist sets this apart from other car vocabulary books. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 21st, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-62672-246-0
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2018


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