Review of Vroom!

by Barbara McClintock; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Farrar    32 pp.
7/19    978-1-62672-217-0    $17.99

Annie, the daredevil young protagonist of this spirited story, has a big imagination—and a plan. She dons her striped racing helmet and gloves and then jumps into her sleek racing car. By the second spread, she is zooming right out of her second-floor bedroom window, a straight shot into the air, with a line of exhaust trailing her. Annie’s journey is epic, one that gleefully bypasses all geographical logic, where “it was a fine evening for a drive” proves, delightfully, to be an understatement. She drives through the flat terrain of what looks like a Midwest setting. Suddenly, she’s racing up a snowy mountain, followed by a journey through a desert, a forest, and a big city, until she’s on a racetrack and the first to cross the finish line; readers will be eager to turn the page and see where she’s heading next. Hunched down behind the wheel, a determined grin on her face and her thick, curly red hair flying—Annie makes an indelible impression. Details in McClintock’s dynamic illustrations cement Annie’s love for racecars, from bedroom curtains that resemble checkered racetrack flags to the poster of a female racecar driver on her wall to her racecar-patterned comforter. It’s in her bedroom where she ends her journey, snug in bed reading a book with her family. Her petite, mud-spattered, overheated racer may be parked for the moment, but there’s always tomorrow, “another fine day for a drive.”

From the September/October 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Julie Danielson
Julie Danielson
Julie Danielson writes about picture books at the blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. She also writes for Kirkus Reviews and BookPage and is a lecturer for the School of Information Sciences graduate program at the University of Tennessee. Her book Wild Things!: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature, written with Betsy Bird and Peter D. Sieruta, was published in 2014.

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