Gott, Barry. Honk! Splat! Vroom! Carolrhoda Books, 2018. ISBN 978-1-5124-4140-6. $17.99. 32 pages. Ages 3-6. P6 Q6
A fun, digitally illustrated, children’s book with the story told almost entirely by the illustrations and sounds. Five mice are racing their cars on a muddy, water obstacle filled course, so lots of honking, crashing, vrooming, and splatting. The mice clearly are taking this race very seriously because when mishaps happen there are tears, anger, and frustration. Distinct facial expressions more than make up for the lack of dialog. When a hungry cat disrupts the race it becomes clear to the mice they need to work together if they all want to cross the finish line.
Overall the graphics didn’t appeal to me because of the severity of some of the expressions. Clearly this is needed to get the author’s point across, so maybe my complaint is about the author’s point. There are moments of euphoria at the expense of another mouse or mice. Pretty sure this isn’t teaching good sportsmanship to a very young audience.
Verdict: A good book for toddlers and early elementary schoolers working on recognizing and differentiating facial expressions with emotions. Not a good example of good sportsmanship. With mediation, this book could be added to a school library.
May 2018 review by Terri Lippert.