From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-This delightful picture book begins before the title page, as a father and two children get into their car to head out to lunch. However, a run-in with a huge mud puddle necessitates a stop at the car wash. As they enter, the children imagine that they are descending into the ocean in a submarine and immediately "Close hatch" (the car's sunroof). Inside, the different cleaning mechanisms become sea creatures, from "Coral reef" sponges to the "Giant arms" of the cloth "Octopus" to "Seaweed" brushes. After escaping the "Hurricane" of the rinse cycle, the vehicle passes through the "Red-hot breath" and finally ascends into the outside world. Then it's on to the fast-food restaurant and lunch-only to spill food all over the clean car. The rhythmic text emulates the relentless beat of a car wash: "Windows up. Engine off. On track." Fashioned from gouache, acrylics, pencil, and "some odds and ends," Karas's illustrations contrast sepia-toned scenes of the real world with vivid pinks, blues, and greens inside the car wash. Filled with clever touches, such as hot-pink fabric strips for the octopus legs and glass beads for water running down the windshield, these offbeat pictures provide a perfect counterpart to a story that is firmly rooted in a familiar experience. Creative, clever, and original, this offering is destined to be a hit in storytime or when shared one-on-one.-Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, Eldersburg, MDSUEN, Anastasia.
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