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Racecar Alphabet


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Floca (Five Trucks) brings a whole new meaning to the term "accelerated learning" with this journey through the alphabet, framed as a history of the race car. Although his alliterative text doesn't always possess the purr of a high performance engine ("Curves across the course cause cars to careen and to crowd and come close to colliding"), his crisp watercolor-and-ink spreads never reduce their speed. Starting with the primitive Renaults and Fords at the turn of the 20th century and ending with a streamlined Ferrari Formula 1 of today, Floca zooms the vehicles around the many locales of racing, from the Indy-style oval tracks to the challenging road courses common to Europe. He consistently finds the most dramatic angle, whether a close-up of a 1962 Lotus 25 driver straining against g-forces, or the head-on view of a 1940 BMW 328 as it bears down on the track (all makes are identified on the endpapers). Sidestepping racing's gorier side (the crashes depicted are casualty-free, and "X" depicts the X-ray of a racer's relatively minor leg break), he captures both the blur of action and the meticulous details so important to young fans. Ages 4-7. (Nov.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

PreS-Gr 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.

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