Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Michael Dooling & illustrated by Michael Dooling

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-8234-1640-2
Publisher: Holiday House

An 1895 race sponsored by the Chicago Times-Herald to prove that the horseless carriage was the way of the future is the subject of Dooling’s (Lewis and Clark and Me: A Dog’s Tale, p. 886, etc.) latest offering, the first he’s both written and illustrated. He begins by introducing each car that participated in the race, the drivers and the umpires/passengers charged with enforcing the rules. Seventy-nine vehicles pledged to participate, but on the day of the race, only six showed up, including two electric cars (the night before, a storm blanketed the city with a foot of snow). Initially rendered in black and white, Dooling’s illustrations have the look and feel of old photographs; as the race unfolds, he introduces hints of color in full-bleed spreads that stretch across the page to convey the cars’ swift motion. As breakdowns and other delays occur, Dooling slows the pace by redirecting action to the left of the spread. History buffs and car lovers will appreciate this faithful account. Dooling’s depiction of industrial age fashion is spot-on and, as the author’s note explains, much of the telling is based on primary sources, including a journal one of the umpires used to record the race. Back matter also explains what happened after the race: winner Frank Duryea started the Duryea Motor Company in 1896, predating Henry Ford by seven years. (Picture book. 4-8)