In this departure for Muth from his Zen books about Stillwater the panda, several stuffed animals speed across a glorious European countryside in classic race cars—and on one impressive motorcycle—and, with some strategic help from Mama Lion, everyone wins.
The race begins in a town square with gathered crowds, mostly stuffed toys with cameo appearances by Clifford the Big Red Dog and Mo Willems’ ambitious Pigeon. “The world is beautiful,” thinks Mama Lion as Tigey drives their red car zooming over green, poplar-studded hills. “The world is friendly.” Muth’s colors in gouache and watercolor pencil richly convey the blue sky of summer, the sleek vehicles with their shiny chrome accents, and the individual characters in the ensemble of stuffed toys. There’s a charming, playful nod to “The Tortoise and the Hare” and some comical antics by a trio of Knitted Monkeys. When Tigey and Mama Lion lose a wheel in a sudden stop, the rotund Flying Pandini brother and sister come to their aid—but the race is still close. The joy of speed, the excitement of obstacles, the reassurance of friendship and assistance, and the satisfaction of having the race turn out just the right way are nicely in proportion. The generous trim size and edge-to-edge art support the exuberant presentation.
Delightful and sweet, with a dose of whimsy and the special appeal of fast cars and competition. (Picture book. 4-7)