Sunday, June 12, 2011

The TTLG 2011 Picture Book Celebration: Book one hundred and sixty-three

There are many picture book stories out there about the little guy who prevails despite the fact that he or she is smaller/weaker/older than everyone else. The Little Engine that Could is a classic example of this kind of story. For today's picture book, I have a tale about a little hamster who wants to participate in a hot rod car race, and who has to overcome considerable obstacles to be able to do so. 

Cynthia Lord
Illustrated by Derek Anderson
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Scholastic, 2010, 978-0-545-03530-9
   Imagine that you are a hamster and that you want to participate in a hot rod race. The biggest challenge you will face will be trying to find a car that is the small enough for you. This is exactly what happens to the hamster in this story. Eager to participate in a hot rod race, the hamster goes to a junk yard and he asks the dog there to help me build a car.
   The dog shows the hamster a “shiny painted blue car” and a rather rusty little green one. The green one is just about the right size for the hamster, so he, the dog, and the dogs little rat helpers set about giving the little green car a much needed overhaul. They choose new wheels, a new engine, and a paint job.
   At the raceway, the other competitors, who are all dogs, make fun of the hamster. “You’ll get lost in our dust,” one of the dogs says. This, not surprisingly, greatly annoys the hamster and he prepares to show them all what a hot rod hamster can do.
   Young children who like race cars are sure to enjoy this amusing story. Not only are there pictures galore of all kinds of cars, but they will get to meet a diminutive main character who pursues his dream despite the fact that the cards are stacked against him.
   With colorful illustrations and an engaging text, this is a picture book that is sure to amuse and entertain.

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