Sunday, October 20, 2013

Mini Racer by Kristy Dempsey

Mini Racer by Kristy Dempsey, illustrated by Bridget Strevens-Marzo

Rating: 5 stars

I've got to admit: I barely keep it together most mornings.  I try really hard to wake the kids, get them clothed, fed, brushed, and ready while making their breakfasts and lunches while also caring for our dogs and being tolerable to my husband.  It's as if I'm juggling way too many things while also balancing on a ball, doing my best to breathe deeply in order to maintain a shred of sanity.

More than anyone else, Ben hears, "Not in the morning.  I just can't."  Even as I type it I cringe.  It doesn't sound good to say it, it doesn't sound good to hear it, it doesn't sound good as it clicks through my fingers just now.  But it's really the truth.  Mornings are tough.  Even though most of our mornings are actually pretty good, rarely do I have time to do much beyond the necessary.  No savoring moments or sips or laughs.  Just trying to get everyone's day started on a good, positive, happy note.  Mine, too!

Ready, steady; green light, go!
But then there are some mornings when one of the boys sleeps in and I have time with the other one after Lorelei and my husband leave for the bus.  The other day was one such morning.  Ben was still sleeping, Kiefer had already eaten, and I actually listened to the voice in my head: Slow the heck down.

So I grabbed a book--Mini Racer--and my littlest guy, and we read.

What a cute book this is!  Yes, there are a dozen books for toddlers about cars in a race.  Yes, most of them rhyme.  Yes, many have good illustrations.  But this one seems to work more than most.
Ready, steady; green light, go!
Mini Racer won't go slow.
Out the gate and down the hill,
Jump a bump, show your skill!
Over, under, in and through,
Obstacles are tough to do.
The story is a notch above good, with a catchy rhyme for sure.
Kiefer's favorite page...the giraffe's head sticks out of the jeep,
and therefore he's stuck outside the tunnel.

But the illustrations make it a notch above great.  They are so cute!  A bunch of animals are racing, and each one has a car unique to him or her or them.  The owl family has a tree car, the dog is driving a motorcycle with a box of bones that are constantly falling out, the rabbits have a carrot box-car thingie, the honey has a beehive on the back of its vehicle...  You get the idea.  And each two-page spread has a different racing scene with a bunch of interesting things going on within the illustration alone.

Good story + great illustrations = one fantastic book.  Mini Racer really should be available in a large board book format--it is destined to be a favorite of many car-loving little guys and girls!

All of this makes for a very good read on a surprisingly quiet morning with an always special boy.

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