Review Blog

May 28 2015

Magic Car Wash series by Rosie Smith and Bruce Whatley

cover image

Ill. by Bruce Whatley and Ben Smith Whatley. Five Mile Press, 2015.
The runaway car. ISBN 9781760065300
The Giant Mouse. ISBN 9781760065294
(Age: 3-5) The Magic Car Wash series is a picture book collaboration between author Rosie Smith, her husband Bruce Whatley and their son Ben Smith Whatley. The CGI graphics bring the six vehicles to life and make them personable. There's Tess the green and yellow tow truck, Maggie the yellow and red sports car, Red the fire engine, Amy the white ambulance, Pedro the pickup and Toni the taxi. Kit their owner's home is behind the Tire Flats garage. Each stand-alone adventure calls for them to work together and solve a problem.
The runaway car has themes of motor cars, trucks, transport, heroes, magic. Just after Kit leaves for lunch, Sam pulls up and needs his brakes fixed. He tries to mend the brakes himself, but leaves an important part out. He tests his work on Hubcap Hill, coming down he's in trouble. Maggie and Tess drive through the Magic Car Wash and form a new car; with a Maggie's winch and Tess's speed, they zoom off to help. With teamwork, Sam's problem is solved.
The giant mouse has themes of fear, motor cars, trucks, magic, cooperation. It deals with overcoming fears. Kit is off for his morning paper and Toni the taxi sees a giant mouse in the garage. Tess investigates and thinks there's a dinosaur in there. When brave Red looks he comes out wet. He has seen something that can jump really high. Amy and Tess drive through the Magic Car Wash without success. When Kit arrives back from his walk, he discovers the answer to their predicament.
The computer graphics are reminiscent of the Disney Cars movies and 'Budgie the Little Helicopter' animated series. Kit the mechanic with his bushy moustache, overalls and low sports cap is very similar in appearance to Mario the plumber in the Super Mario Nintendo game.
This is a series for the young reader who enjoys cars and trucks. There are messages about cooperation, collaboration and teamwork in each picture book.
For a reading audience of 3-5.
Rhyllis Bignell

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