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By the Side of the Road Hardcover – May 1 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Di Capua Books (May 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786809086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786809080
  • Product Dimensions: 18.4 x 22.3 x 1.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 367 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,710,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Master cartoonist and author Jules Feiffer takes a common family scenario and plays it out to the hilarious end in his delightful, over-the-top picture book By the Side of the Road. "'If you don't behave,' my father said, 'I'm gonna pull over right here, and you can wait by the side of the road till we come and get you.'" Little brother Rudy decides to cooperate, while older brother Richard chooses to wait by the side of the road: "An hour later I was kind of used to it. Two hours later it was where I wanted to live." Three hours later, his family comes back for him, but he's not ready to go. He's not ready the next time, either, but does accept a hamburger. And a sweater. Eventually, he is living full-time by the side of the road, aided by mother and father only occasionally dropping by with a poncho or a snowsuit, or a house, tutor, and generator, depending upon the season. Richard's elaborate tunnel system for storing "secret stuff" from comic books to "bottles thrown out of car windows" is straight out of every child's wildest dreams, as is his mock-Thoreau-style existence, free from grumpy dad and family rules (but well stocked with computer games and other essentials).

Throughout this outlandish scenario (Richard grows up and has his own family, still by the side of the road, later to be joined by his elderly parents), we think about discipline ("The way he said it made me unlearn the lesson I was right then in the middle of learning"), about family ("Sometimes you have to make concessions"), about independence, about dependence ("I'm hungry and I'm cold"), about loneliness, and about self-sufficiency. Feiffer's expressive, fluid drawings capture every motion and emotion with just the right lines, making this crazy run-on picture book a rousing success. (Ages 7 and older) --Karin Snelson

From Publishers Weekly

On a two-hour car ride, Richard wrestles with his brother in the backseat despite his parents' angry glances. He reports the incident in disaffected sentences, while duotone images picture his refusal to heed the threats. " `If you don't behave,' my father said, `I'm gonna pull over right here and you can wait by the side of the road till we come and get you.'... Who likes to be pushed around? `I think I'll wait by the side of the road,' I said." After his family drives away, Richard isn't afraid. In fact, he enjoys the grassy shoulder. When his scowling, heavy-set father returns and snarls, "Learned your lesson yet, wise guy?" the boy coolly chooses his own destiny: "The way he said it made me unlearn the lesson I was right then in the middle of learning." He goes on living by the highway, where he digs a system of caves and becomes the envy of other children. It becomes apparent that the child has abandoned his parents, instead of the other way around, as Richard's disempowered mother and father humbly bring provisions for his new home. Whereas Feiffer's I'm Not Bobby! described a boy's noisy defiance in assertive statements and an oversize scrawl, this compact, horizontal-format book conveys equally intense passion in a quieter way. The cinematic sequence of blurred, ink-wash illustrations traces Richard's independent life into adulthood and concludes on an absurd but credibly contented note. All ages.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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First Sentence
I was fooling around in the backseat of the car with my little brother, Rudy. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Format: Hardcover
"I was fooling around in the backseat of the car with my little brother, Rudy..." So begins Richard's simple story of how he ended up living his life "by the side of the road." One thing led to another, as it usually does on a long car trip, until his father finally issued that well known and well worn ultimatum: "If you don't behave, I'm gonna pull over right here, and you can wait by the side of the road till we come and get you." But this time when his father pulled the car on to the shoulder and stopped, Richard decided to call his bluff and get out. And there he stood, by the side of the road. At first he was a little nervous, standing there. "An hour later I was kind of used to it. Two hours later it was where I wanted to live. Better than my house at least, where my mother and father were always telling me what to do." When his parents come back to take him home, he decides he likes it right where he is, and chooses to stay. As hours pass to days, then weeks, months, and eventually years, no one can convince Richard to go back home, and he makes quite a nice life for himself by the side of the road..... Jules Feiffer offers the ultimate childhood fantasy in this clever and engaging picture book. His straighforward text, with its deadpan delivery is secondary to the marvelous cartoon-like, black and white illustrations, and each page is filled with playful wit, expressive detail, and emotion. Unfortunately, Mr Feiffer goes a bit too far and too long, detailing Richard's entire roadside life, and concludes with a weak ending that detracts from an otherwise charming fantasy. Perfect for youngsters 10 and older, By The Side Of The Road is worth a read just for the artwork, and will delight kids with its intriguing, though unrealistic possibilities.
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Format: Hardcover
Out is good. Away is even better. Far away is better still.
In the late 60's I remember seeing a hitchhiker outside San Francisco holding a cardboard sign with one word: OUT.
This book recounts the glories of OUT, which are many: freedom, choices, time to think, creation, and many, many more.
It also warns any potential away-getters that others, for example, moms; dads; friends; potential mates hunting you down; possibly, though not necessarily, siblings; former teachers (not mentioned in the book but also likely, :-)) ) and sundry others.
This can be and is marketed as a child's picture book by our witty and simultaneously biting friend Jules Feiffer, but it is for the child in anyone.
It reached the child in me and, for 20 or so light minutes before I picked my fourth grader son up at school, made me, may I utter it, happy.
I hope and trust it will do the same for you whether you have a fourth grader or not.
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Format: Hardcover
When Richard won't stop goofing off with his brother in the backseat of the car, his parents leave him temporarily at the side of the road. Just to show them, he refuses to come home and builds his own living quarters beneath the ground and grows up, by the side of the road. This first person narrative uses cut-out, single and full-page pencil drawings that give a sense of earnestness to this ridiculous story and to portray Richard's new life and the story gives children a chance to think they might be able to take complete charge of their lives, even though most parents I know would bring their child kicking and screaming home.
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Format: Hardcover
I have never spent... more worthless [money] than that which I spent on this book (and I've been to Las Vegas). The book is supposed to be for children yet it promotes disrespect. It encourages children to believe they do not need their parents.
There is no plot, no story. There isn't even an ending. The family gets home and says, "Thank God." This children's book speaks of the main character's magazine article collection about serial killers.
It is not a worthless book. I use it to teach how not to write.
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