With the same attention to detail as his Drive (2008) and Job Site (2011), Clement brings stock-car racing to life for armchair drivers.
Readers see it all—from the order to start engines to the pit stops and the many mishaps that can happen during a race—and flags help signal much of it. But while all the details are there, the whys are missing—why the pace car, why the pit stops? The race cars follow the pace car for several laps before the green flag starts the race. A collision triggers the yellow caution flag, and the pace car again leads the way. “Race cars hit the pits. Refuel. Jack up. Change tires.” When the green flag is again waved, “It’s pedal to the metal.” A crash and a wave of the red flag stops the race while the track is cleared. The white last-lap flag is quickly followed by the famous checkered flag, ending the race. The final page reveals it’s all been child’s play: A child’s hand extends from the edge and holds the winning car. Brightly colored cars in the digital illustrations contrast nicely with the gray and black of the track. Distance is indicated by blurriness, with objects in the foreground having sharp, crisp lines. A guide to the flags’ meanings appears before the story.
Fans will race to share this with their favorite racers-to-be, though they will need to fill listeners in on all the specific whys and hows. (Picture book. 4-7)