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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mitchell's License, written by Hallie Durand and illustrated by Tony Fucile. Candlewick, Random House. 2011. $18.00 ages 3 and up

"Mitchell never ever EVER
wanted to go to bed. Until
his dad finally said he could
drive there.

Mitchell was three years, nine
months, and five days old when
he got his license."

This should have been a post last week for Father's Day! I missed the boat. It hearkens me back to the games my kids played with their Dad. He is missed every day.

Mitchell is not keen on bedtime...what three year old loves it? Rather than make it an issue, Dad comes up with a witty and hilarious solution. He gives Mitchell a 'remote-control dad' license to drive.

It offers up so much fun for the nightly complaints that are bedtime rituals for many young children. Dad's shoulders provide the seat, his glasses the windshield, which is competently cleaned before embarking on the first lesson. All does not go well. We do know 'practice makes perfect' and let's remember, this is the first stab at navigating the many hazards of driving. They make the bedroom in good time and Mitchell is tucked in without incident.

On the second night, Mitchell has learned more about the task at hand. He looks both ways, uses the horn (Dad's nose) when needed, makes left and right turns and knows how to use the brakes. He's a wonder! On the third night, he adds oil for maintenance, slows down for speed bumps, makes even more turns and notes that gas is needed. (The gas comes in the form of chocolate chip cookies, and it's too late for the car to be fuelled up!) Emergency flares do not help. A promise is made for tomorrow's trip, Mitchell settles in to dream of a solo career that allows as many 'gas fill-ups' as are deemed necessary.

What an inspired choice it was to have Tony Fucile create the artwork for this delightful story!  His characters are enthusiastic and energetic, the exaggerated action perfect for bringing this nightly game to the audience. I laughed out loud at some of the antics and will continue to do so as I share it in classrooms and workshops.

You won't be able to stop at one reading! I guarantee that. It's just too much fun...and could be paired with
The Daddy Mountain by Jules Feiffer.

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