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If I Built a Car Paperback – June 14, 2007


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 and up
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (June 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142408255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142408254
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,487 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2-With descriptions and a rhyme scheme clearly inspired by Dr. Seuss, a little boy relates all of the wonderful things about the car he plans to design, including safety features, a pool, a robot driver, and the ability to go underwater and fly through the air. The rhyme scheme works well enough, although at times the rhythm falters. The artwork is the real draw here. The brightly colored, crisp, cartoon-style illustrations, reminiscent of the Jetsons, are likely to keep viewers' attention. The full-bleed pictures are animated and detailed, and the boy's dog, which appears in each picture, ties the images together nicely. This slight story may attract young fans of vehicles, but readers looking for a plot will be disappointed in what is essentially an extensive laundry list of the automobile's attributes.-Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

K-Gr. 2. A young boy decides to design a better car than the old family station wagon. Driven by a robot, his sleek, supercharged vehicle can drive underwater and fly, and the interior includes a snack bar and swimming pool. The story is told in jaunty rhyming couplets, but the fun really comes from the illustrations, which perfectly parody 1950s' visions of the future, as depicted in such magazines as Popular Mechanics. The car glides past neat suburban homes with wide and perfect lawns, where everything is bathed in pastels. This may appeal more to parents (or, perhaps more accurately, to grandparents) who remember these renderings of technological dream worlds. Still, children will enjoy the exuberance and goofiness of the double-page spreads, such as the close-up of the expansive snack bar, which dispenses burgers, fries, and Cheez Whip on command. Todd Morning
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 141 customer reviews
My 5 year old son LOVES this book!
2006harvestmoon
We read this book before bed every night.
Debra Craig
The illustrations and story are great!
Amazon Fan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By J. Strout on November 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is amazing. My 6-year-old son loves it, and my wife and I quite enjoy it too. The artwork is beautifully done, colorful, crisp, and bright. The writing is superb too -- perfect rhythm and rhyme, but not forced; I dare say it's better than Dr. Seuss. And the concept of this book really captures the imagination: this amazing car and all that it can do. One thing I especially appreciate about it is that the car does not change from page to page; it's completely self-consistent, even though each page points out some amazing new feature. I also love the front and back inside cover -- they're covered with sketches, in the front showing earlier ideas for the car that didn't make the cut, and in the back, showing the final design, like a rough blueprint.

We got this book from the library, but I'll be buying a copy, and looking for other books by the same author. No other children's book has ever impressed me like this one did.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By L. Kalman on September 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is the first book I have read by this author and it is absolutely amazing. Done in rhyme, a child describes in perfect detail what the construction would be for his fine automobile.

I read to my children every night and I read someone else's review at Amazon and stumbled upon this book, I have to say it is a huge hit, and it's been included in our reading selection during every daily read aloud. My kids are starting to memorize it and they just got it a few days ago!

I can't wait to receive his other books! Buy this book, you won't be dissapointed!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Eddie Coker on September 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As a Father of two children who shares the duties of reading to my young children, great illustrations are a must.

In my opinion, Chris Van Dusen is king. Maybe Big King. Or Biggest. Possibly More Biggest King! Don't forget either that the guy also writes the things too!

"If I Built a Car" has some of the most imaginative illustrations I have seen in a long time.

Buy this book now. Words don't describe. But the pictures will!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By S. Postma on February 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a fantastic book. The rhyming flows well, making it easy to read over and over again to children. The artwork is bold and beautiful and there are some fun connections to the author's previous books. This is a story full of optimism and sunshine and imagination.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. Brougher on June 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Van Dusen has done it again. Just perfect. I just love all his books. When your kids want you to read the same books over and over, these are great. I don't get tired of reading them. The illustrations are wonderful. In this one, the little boy has copies of Chris Van Dusen's books in his room and you meet up with Mr. Magee and Dee while driving your car on the lake. Perfect books! I can't wait for more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DPD on June 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The book is great - each of his books is great alone, but they each get better and better. I read it to a Kindergarten class and a second grade class and they all just loved it. The rhyming words and the great illustrations caught the attention of these young kids. It inspired them all to draw and design their own cars and what their car would do. Great series of books to own. Can't wait for the next one!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By boysmom on September 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The text rhymes, but it has great thoughts and we had a discussion of what if he built a car. He is 4.5 but it was a great tool to open his mind. The pictures are great and now I'm off to check out his other books. Would love to see him be more widely known, I think this is a standout book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Danielle Harris on December 20, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my 5 year old son. He is very picky about the books he reads. Unfortuantely, I typically can't get through a whole book because he loses attention fast. NOT WITH THIS BOOK. He sits there and looks in awe at the pictures while listening attentively to the story. I think the illustrations are very capitivating and better than that of most books (especially for a young kid). I just ordered two more of his books and can't wait to get them. I wanted to make sure I wrote a review because what I appreciate the most is the renewed bonding I have with my son through reading him something that he thoroughly enjoys. All of the ratings are spot on for this one!
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