Maxi the Little Taxi

Elizabeth Upton, illus. by Henry Cole. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-79860-0
A taxi makes a literal splash on his first day on the job in this rhyming road trip, Upton’s first picture book. After Maxi heads out from Mr. Buddy’s garage, “He zoomed up./ He zoomed down./ He zoomed all around town—/ Splashing in every/ big puddle he found!” By the time Maxi has picked up some messy, snack-eating fares and had a close encounter with a pigeon, his grimy appearance starts hindering his business. “Soon all the people/ Who needed a taxi/ Took one quick look—/ And walked right past Maxi,” writes Upton in one of the book’s unlikeliest sequences (anthropomorphic taxis are one thing, but busy urbanites ignoring available cabs is another). Upton’s rhymes are often cloyingly chirpy, and it isn’t much of a plot (a visit to the car wash improves Maxi’s day), but her liberal use of exclamatory phrases and onomatopoeic words should make for fun readalouds. Cole (Unspoken) helps give Maxi a zippy personality, turning his windshield into a large pair of eyes and his mouth into a grille, while bustling city backdrops further boost the story’s kinetic energy. Ages 3–5. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/2016
Release date: 03/29/2016
Genre: Children's
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