Friday, March 27, 2015

Digby O'Day in the fast lane by Shirley Hughes, illustrated by Clara Vulliamy

Sometimes you just need something light and British.

Digby O'Day loves his car, even if it is a bit old and prone to mishaps. One day, he and his best friend Percy are out for a drive when a particularly bad mishap nearly lands them in the soup! Fortunately, a helpful family saves the day (unlike that nasty Lou Ella in her bright pink convertible). Shortly afterwards, a big race is announced and Digby is excited to enter. However, things go wrong quite soon and he finds himself trailing behind everyone. Does he have a chance to win? And will he take winning over helping out his friends?

The artwork is most of the appeal of this sweet but rather meandering story. It has a breezy 50s feeling with the butlerine Digby, fashion-plate Lou Ella, and sleek, cheerful cars. The illustrations are in shades of black and brown, highlighted with red and pink.

This is a very slight story, very British with its cozy characters and bits of slang, and it is rather meandering. Just like Digby O'Day's race. But it's rather relaxing all the same. I enjoyed reading the cute little character bios, and the simple message that nice guys don't necessarily finish last, while very pat, is comforting and makes for a satisfying ending.

This also includes character bios, quizzes, fun writing and drawing prompts, and is the first in a new series.

Verdict: This is a perfect book to hand to really young, strong readers. They need something more challenging than easy readers, but they're not really developmentally ready to handle the plots of the more usual beginning chapter series. It would also make an adorable read-aloud for preschoolers.

ISBN: 9780763673697; Published 2014 by Candlewick; Borrowed from another library in my consortium; Added to the library's backlist

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