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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Going Places, written by Peter H Reynolds and Paul A Reynolds and illustrated by Peter H Reynolds. Atheneum, Simon & Schuster. 2014. $$17.99 ages 4 and up

"The next morning
Rafael checked back in
to see how Maya was doing.

"Wow, what is that?" he asked.
Maya grinned.
"You like it?"

Rafael responded slowly."

Oh, I am so glad that the Reynolds brothers here write about imagination and artistic spirit. Rafael and Maya could not be more different when it comes to the task at hand:

"Rafael had been waiting
all year long for the
Going Places contest,
a chance to build a go-cart,
race it...and win."

He's the first to get his kit, and he follows the directions precisely. He's content doing exactly what the blueprint says. Once complete, according to the included instructions, Rafael's go-cart is picture perfect. With no further work to do, he has time to wonder how Maya is getting along with her kit. She lives next door; he is off to check it out.

Rafael finds Maya sitting on her unopened kit, sketching a lovely blue bird that has caught her eye. She seems mesmerized by the bird, and totally uninterested in the go-cart. Rafael goes back home. When he returns the following morning, there is some surprise in store for him. Maya's 'go-cart' looks nothing like his, or what was described in the instructions. When he points that out, Maya is unperturbed!

Maya wonders where it said it had to be a go-cart. It's a tough question to answer. It sets Rafael in a different direction:

"I get it. Hey, Maya,
I really want to
win this race.
The instructions
never said we
couldn't team up

Their course is set. The results are enlightening. In a book about being creative and following your own path, readers will get a real sense of the benefits and confidence that comes from being a non-conformist. There are so many possibilities, aren't there?

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