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If I Built a Car Hardcover – May 5, 2005

4.9 out of 5 stars 225 customer reviews

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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.

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
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 5 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - Kindergarten
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers; Complete Numbers Starting with 1, 1st Ed edition (May 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525474005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525474005
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 0.3 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (225 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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By Mom of 3 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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"If I Built a Car" served double duty. I arranged a baby shower for my daughter and son-in-law where couples and families were invited. We know a baby boy is on his way so it became my job to find a theme for this shower, and I got the idea of "cars" because all the guys in the family, on both sides, LOVE cars(not the Disney movie). This book served as a guest book because I left tiny post-its where geusts could sign and leave a message for our baby when he arrives. Also, my daughter and son-in-law are advocates of reading to children so they plan to read this to him when the time is right.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We own all the Chris Van Dusen books and my kids just adore his silly ryhmes and creative stories. We are a fan of all the McGee books and the baseball book and both "If I Built a Car" and "If I Built a House" books.
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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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Format: Paperback
This is a super cute book! My daughter received "If I Built a Car" as her free monthly book from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library (if you have never heard of it, google it! Your children can receive a free book in the mail every month until they turn 5! No fees whatsoever. You just sign up & enjoy!) I have been pleased with all books my daughters have received but I think this one has been my most favorite. My girls & I enjoyed it so much that I came to Amazon to see what other books the author may have. I am getting ready to order a few of his other titles but wanted to leave a review here for others to see, as this IS the cutest book! (Sorry a couple photos are sideways. I've included 4 photos. They're the first 2 and last 2 pages of the story.)
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