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BIG BROTHER HAS WHEELS

Author: Patrick Mader

Illustrator: Andrew Holmquist

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Publisher: Beaver's Pond Press,

Material: hard cover

Summary: This story follows the life of a small, Midwestern boy as he grows into a man, and watches his fascination with wheeled vehicles. From a wagon to a bike to his first car to his family minivan, he has adventures across the country using his Wheels. This is a text-heavy picture book about two brothers, and one's fascination with wheels.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 9; read yourself: 8 to 10

Interest Level: 4 to 8

Reading Level: 3

Age of Child: Read with boys ages 3 and 5.

Young Reader Reaction: My sons were not overly excited or turned off by the book. I think they did like all the vehicles in it. I don’t think they understood the “moral” of the story.

Adult Reader Reaction: I was not a huge fan of this book. Some of the story was awkward, and I felt like some of the sections were “forced” to shape parts of the story to add additional vehicle types. The illustrations are colorful and artistic, but did not particularly appeal to me, personally. I guess I look for books where my boys can either learn an important life lesson (or their ABCs) OR they are just absolutely beautiful, and I didn’t feel this book met both of my criteria. HOWEVER, if you have a child who is INFATUATED with cars, trucks, etc, this might be a more appealing book to have in the home library or to check out from the public library.
Mostly, I’m not sure what the underlying lesson is to be learned. There isn’t an “aha!” moment where we learn something or a good (or bad) way to live. The one lesson I think you might glean is to get out and EXPLORE the country and LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST. This may have been the direction the book was going, but the last couple pages sort of counteracted that message. They are funny in a way that only adults with life experience would understand, so the punch line sort-of missed the target audience, in my opinion.

Pros: The illustrations are colorful, and there are LOTS of wheeled vehicles (trucks, cars, buses, tractors, bikes, etc.).

Cons: It's hard to tell what the author was "doing" with this story.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. Check it out from the library if you have a child REALLY interested in wheeled transportation.

If You Liked This Book, Try: SEYMOUR SIMON'S BOOK OF TRUCKS   LITTLE BLUE TRUCK   THINGS THAT MOVE (Usborne First Words)

Educational Themes: Lots of different vehicles with wheels. This might be a good book to base a copy-cat story-writing lesson for young kids: for them to write their own story about one of the many vehicles in the book, about where that particular vehicle would take them and the adventures that would ensue. Probably a 1st or 2nd or 3rd grade story.

Notes: The author donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, family, trucks, trains, cars, bikes

Date(s) Reviewed: September 2010

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