Tag Archives: racing

Going Places

23 Jun

17684972Going Places written and illustrated by Peter and Paul Reynolds (2014)

It’s time for the annual Going Places contest and Rafael was determined to win. Each student was given a kit to build a go-cart with instructions inside. But Rafael’s friend Maya was not one to follow directions like everyone else. Maya had her own ideas. And together Rafael and Maya build much more than a go-cart, they build a go-cart with wings! Despite a little teasing from the other kids who have all built the exact same replica of the go-cart on the box, Rafael and Maya take off and soon zoom over their friends’ heads, landing far in front of them and roll past the finish line in first place. The crowd cheers, but instead of waiting for their prize Rafael and Maya are already thinking of modifications to their go-cart to make a frog-jumping under-water swimming machine.

Peter and Paul Reynolds are twin brothers who credit their 10th grade social studies teacher who dared them to have original ideas. Together, like Rafael and Maya, they dared to be different and wrote a story about friendship and original thinking.

Paul Reynolds illustrated the book with precision to detail and with creativity, the perfect blend for the story.

I enjoyed reading the story and watching the transformation of thought from being identical to being unique. It makes me wonder how much the authors are identical and unique at the same time. But what I really liked about the story is the journey from the desire to win the race to the desire to be creative. I liked that the book did not end with prizes and ribbons, balloons and streamers, high-fives and fist-bumps. I like that it ended with the prospect of another project. The reward is actually the process and the dream. Way to go!

Number One Sam

22 May

18453190-2Number One Sam written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli (2014)

Yesterday I got the chance to spend the day with my #1 toddler. We went to Story Hour at our public library and got the chance to hear the children’s librarian read Number One Sam. The little ones loved it, the toddlers as much as the preschoolers, so did the adults! Greg Pizzoli has done it again with a clear and simple story that everyone can enjoy.

Sam is number one at everything. He just knows he going to win the big race, until he loses a race to his friend Maggie. Oh, no! Everyone is cheering except Sam. Sam cannot even look at Maggie on the day of the big race. He was so distracted he missed the starting flag and everyone sped off leaving him in a cloud of dust. Maggie was first in line. Then Sam caught up and passed everyone, including Maggie. He would be number one again…until something terrible happened. Sam saw a brood of chicks crossing the track! He slammed on his brakes and rescued the chicks while the other racers sped past him. Sam finished last. As he approached the finish line he heard everyone cheering… for him! ‘And even though he lost another race…his friends still thought he was number one.’

How could you not love this story? It teaches so many valuable lessons about friendship, winning, and doing the right thing. Greg Pizzoli is a genius at choosing just the right words to tell a story. He doesn’t talk down to kids or adults and uses vocabulary that is rich in meaning. And the illustrations are simple and vintage in the way that makes me think of cartoons I watched in the 60’s and 70’s. Sam reminds me of a cross between Underdog and Speed Racer, but then again that may just be me! So with the Indy 500 just around the corner… I’ll be rooting for Sam!

PS. If you remember Greg Pizzoli’s Watermelon Seed, you’ll recognize the alligator in the race.

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THE WATERMELON SEED

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