Carl the car and a passel of automobile friends look forward to some fun in an outdoor park until they are misdirected up the ramp of a parking structure by a sign that reads “PARK HERE.”
Carl ascends the ramp and becomes confused as to why there are no birds, trees, or grass—not to mention friends. When Carl reaches the top level, there are the other cars, all equally upset. This supposed Level 1 early reader has a rhyming narrative and short sentences but very little vocabulary repetition to facilitate learning, introducing new words on each page of text. The storyline itself is intriguing enough; although the initial wordplay may be immediately appreciated by adults, kids may miss the double meaning. Cartoon art of boxy cars in bold colors with large googly eyes for headlights above large smiles or frowns develops the characters. Carl and friends eventually descend the long ramp and arrive at the park they know and love, complete with speed bumps along their racetrack. Young readers might think the parking garage looks like an awful lot of fun and that the mix-up didn’t need any fixing, but kids who love cars as characters should be happy to take this for a spin.
A wayward trip righted, though beginning readers may need some assistance to figure it out. (Early reader. 6-8)