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Saturday, July 2, 2011

My Side of the Car, written by Kate Feiffer and illustrated by Jules Feiffer. Candlewick, Random House. 2011. $19.00 ages 4 and up

"My dad keeps driving. After he drives a little longer, he says, "Sadie, it's pouring on my side of the car. I think by now it must be at least
drizzling on your side of the car.""

The truth is not always 'as plain as the nose on your face' to kids. What they see in the world and what their parents see can be two very different things. That differing vision often has to do with what the child wants to be true, rather than what is true and certain. If you have kids, you have been there! I know that you have!

Sadie's former planned trips to the zoo have been cancelled, too often for her comfort. Nothing is going to get in the way this time. They are GOING to the zoo, and she can't wait. She and her Dad have piled into the car, and they are set. Their trip takes a turn when rain starts pouring down. Dad notices it first. He's sad that they won't be able to go. As certain as Dad is about the rain, Sadie is about the fact that it is NOT raining on her side of the car. On her side there's sunshine, lawn waterers, ice cream eaters and other families off to the zoo. No problem here. There might be flowing rivers of water on his side, but the side where she's sitting (the zoo side) is bright and filled with sunshine.
When they get to the zoo and Sadie hops out to check the weather, Dad allows her to make the choice about staying. Sadie makes the trek around the car and finds that it is, indeed, raining on her Dad's side and she doesn't want to get wet. Maybe they should come back another day. Turning the car around, they head back the way they came from, until Sadie hears her father say:

"Sadie, I was wondering if it's raining on your side of the car, because it stopped raining on my side of the car."

You KNOW what that means!
Jules Feiffer's watercolors perfectly capture the rainy outlook that may hamper this much anticipated father-daughter trek. There is so much to love in the details and each reading will offer more to see. Inspired by a real event for this father and daughter team, they add to the fun by remembering the conversation that leads to its telling. Funny and empathetic to the child's view of the world, you will be reading it often and with much pleasure. This is a great book that will be enjoyed by many...and should be. Kids will identify with everything that Sadie is feeling as she almost has to deal with disappointment one more time. They don't get much better than this! Bravo!  

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