Peter and Paul Reynolds
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Fiction, Mar. 18, 2014
Suitable for Ages: 4-8
Themes: Creative ability, Go-carts, Race, Imagination, Teamwork
Opening: “Rafael had been waiting all year long for the Going Places contest, a chance to build a go-cart, race it…and win.”
Synopsis: Rafael wastes no time in opening his “Going Places”kit and reads the instructions with a magnifying glass to make sure that he follows the directions precisely to build his go-cart. He peeks over the fence to see how Maya is doing with her cart and finds her perched on top of her kit watching and sketching a picture of a bird in a tree. The next day Rafael checks back and discovers Maya is building a flying machine. Rafael points out, “that’s not a go-cart.” She replies, “Who said it HAD to be a go-cart?” Rafael, who really wants to win the race, realizes Maya’s vision and suggests they team up. On the day of the race all the students arrive with their look-alike go-carts. Rafael and Maya are teased about their unusual entry, but they end up soaring to the finish line to a cheering crowd.
Why I like this book: I enjoyed Peter H. Reynolds collaborative effort with his twin brother, Paul A. Reynolds, in this imaginative story about creative ability and thinking outside the box. The text reveals the discovery of new ideas and visions, the importance of teamwork and the joy and wonder of using your imagination to create something unique. Two very different minds working together are a lot more creative and productive than one — a great take-away message for children. Peter’s illustrations have his trademark whimsical appeal, but the artwork for Going Places is very bold, colorful and expressive. The students in the class are multi-ethnic, another signature of Peter and Paul’s interest in appealing to the global family. This is an entertaining and original story for children.
About the authors: Peter H. Reynolds is the bestselling author and illustrator of I’m Here, The Dot, Ish, Sky Color, and the North Star. He’s sold over 20 million books in 25 countries. Paul A. Reynolds is CEO and co-founder (with Peter) of the Boston-based educational media company FableVision. Check out Peter’s website .
Activity: Encourage children to use their imaginations to design and draw their own go-carts on paper. Help them think outside of the box. Perhaps their go-cart resembles a favorite insect, monster, dinosaur, or truck. Maybe it’s meant to operate on the ground, in the air or underwater.
Resource: I also recommend teachers and parents check out a special site FableVision and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills have created for educators. It’s called Above & Beyond: The Story of the 4Cs — Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.