cover image Cadillac


Charles Temple. Putnam Publishing Group, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22654-0

Temple (On the River Bank; Shanty Boat) again charms readers with his rollicking and vivid rhyming language, but he makes some missteps in treating the subject matter at the heart of this picture book. Granny takes her young granddaughter for a spin in her gigantic, pink-finned Cadillac ``With the Naugahyde seats/ And the gold-flecked metal... Boom, shacka-lacka-lacka/Boom, shacka-lack.'' The outing may be meant to be silly, but Temple fails to elevate the text to a state of goofiness removed from the difficult issues it suggests. This granny clearly has no business on the road; she knocks her own mailbox down from the git-go, then Lockhart's creamy, fuzzy pastels depict Granny putting on lipstick while driving, running red lights and crashing into a parking meter. There are no seatbelts to be seen and the granddaughter prays in the backseat throughout. At story's end, this highway hellion avoids a ticket by kissing a traffic cop, and then takes to the open road again. Worse, the granddaughter is shown at the parked car's wheel emulating her Granny. This type of humor is better left unshared. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)