GALLOPING GERTRUDE: By Motorcar in 1908 by John J. Loeper

GALLOPING GERTRUDE: By Motorcar in 1908

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KIRKUS REVIEW

With his grandparents and his little sister, one Timothy Hill (never built up as a character, or anything more than a name) sets out in Grandfather Hill's new Pierce Arrow for a 30-mile journey to Uncle Joe's. What with a flat tire, a radiator leak, hostile locals, a wrong turn, and a collision with the first car they encounter, the planned two-hour excursion takes four; but you can bet they all tell Uncle Joe how smooth the ride was. The illustrations are old ads and prints, not pictures of the Hill family trip, and instead of integrating background information into the narrative, Loeper switches back and forth between the Hills' trip and historical tidbits. Loeper makes the driver of the new car female, then puts in a paragraph on the first woman driver. A policeman forces Grandfather to pay for killing a farmer's chickens (though no dead chickens are in evidence), and we hear about anti-motorist laws and decisions. (One town posted a sign reading ""Speed Limits Change Daily."") Real old-car buffs would forego the cardboard-cutout Hills for more mechanical and styling details. For readers of Loeper's Flying Machine (1976) and Golden Dragon (1978), this could be mildly diverting. . . like browsing through someone else's family album.

Pub Date: March 13th, 1980
Publisher: Atheneum