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Rattletrap Car


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About the Author

Phyllis Root says this story is based on "all the rattletrap cars I've ever driven!"

Jill Barton says she often draws on her memories of her grandfather, a farmer, when illustrating stories set in the country.


PreS-Gr 2-On a hot summer day, Junie and Jakie suggested a trip to the lake. Poppa worries about whether or not their old car will make it ("It doesn't go fast and it doesn't go far"), but the family decides to give it a try. They haven't gone far when "boomsssssssss. The tire went flat." Junie knows what to do-she puts her beach ball in the place of the wheel, sticking it on tight with chocolate marshmallow fudge delight. Then, "whumpety whomp!"-the floor falls off. This time, Jakie knows just what to do. A series of other near-disasters follows, each finding a silly remedy with an item that had been packed for the outing, and they make it to the lake. Cumulative stories are most successful when they have a little twist or surprise at the end, and there isn't one here, but the bouncy, creative language more than makes up for that lack. The internal rhymes, alliteration, and creative car sounds make a perfect read-aloud. The watercolor illustrations are full of action as the rattletrap car bounces off the road and seems to rush off the page. The words for the car sounds bounce, too, in their larger, uneven fonts. The illustrations contribute humorous detail capturing the family's alternating despair, inventiveness, and glee at moving again.-Adele Greenlee, Bethel College, St. Paul, MN Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Will the family's rapidly deteriorating jalopy survive the ride to the lake? Junie, Jakie, the baby and Poppa are so set on a swim to cool off that they're determined their rattletrap car won't disappoint them. Each time the car breaks down which Root evokes with a rousing and ever-growing chorus of onomatopoeia a family member improvises a solution, making ingenious use of a beach toy and car snacks. When the floorboard falls off with a "Whumpety Whomp!," Jakie "put his surf board on the car and he stuck it on tight with chocolate marshmallow fudge delight." Not only does the family make it to the lake, but they make it back home again as well, with a refrain of "flippita fluppita/ fizzelly sizzelly/ wappity bappity/ lumpety bumpety/ clinkety clankety/ bing bang pop!" As in their What Baby Wants, Root and Barton prove that they know how to convey mounting comic mayhem. Root builds her narrative house of cards with plenty of rhythmic repetition and nonsense words, while Barton's sunny, high-spirited watercolors demonstrate that, with a sense of humor, it is possible to move the world or at least a broken-down Tin Lizzie. Ages 4-8. (May) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"A picture book that passes the fun test with flying fizz."

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