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PreSchool-Grade 2-The alliterative, rhyming text features each letter of the alphabet in sequence and is accompanied by attractive watercolors of racing scenes. Each page's text focuses on some aspect of the sport and an often-repeated letter (e.g., "Helmets holding heads"). While clever, the writing is occasionally stilted due to the requirements of the setup. Realistic, double-page paintings depict a variety of authentic racers, including Formula 1, Indy/CART, sports cars, and stock cars, which progress chronologically, with early models at the start and modern ones following. Almost all the drivers and officials are white men, but spectators are a diverse crowd and the doctor treating an injury is a woman. Endpapers illustrate each of the machines depicted and identify them by year, make, and model. Similar in concept to Anne Miranda's Vroom, Chugga, Vroom-Vroom (Turtle, 1998), Floca's book is more appealing due to its superior illustrations and their faithfulness to real racecars.
Jeffrey A. French, Euclid Public Library, OH
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
PreS-Gr. 2. Floca's picture-book tribute to auto racing looks simple, but many things are going on at once. There is, of course, a race. Also, the alphabetical text often uses alliterative phrases, providing functional fare for phonetics fanatics and fun for everyone else. And finally, each turn of the page represents a time shift. Although a single race appears to proceed throughout the book, the cars, drivers, tracks, and spectators change considerably from the book's opening in 1901, when a Ford chugs along a country road, to the conclusion in 2001, when a Ferrari takes its victory lap around an immense racetrack. Large in scale, the ink-and-watercolor artwork is bold enough to share with a story hour or classroom group, yet young racing fans will find the details absorbing. Floca's introductory note on the history of racing may interest them as well. The clean, spacious book design is thoughtfully planned, right down to the end papers, which show different views of the cars and drivers. An appealing picture book on an unusual subject. Carolyn Phelan
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