Reviewed September 13, 2009.
Candlewick Press, 2009. 36 pages.
Last week I did a Drop-in Story Hour, where I read books to preschoolers for an hour. I used it as an opportunity to introduce the families to several of the picture books from our New Books shelf, without worrying about theme. By far the hit of the day was Toot Toot Zoom! by Phyllis Root.
Pierre is a fox with a little red car who lives at the foot of a sky-high mountain. You have to turn the book on its side to see just how tall the mountain is. But poor Pierre lives all alone, so he decides to go to the other side of the mountain to look for a friend.
The road up the mountain is a series of hairpin turns, so of course Pierre has to honk his horn at every curve. This is where the preschoolers quickly learn to chant along with you as you read: Toot! Toot! Zoom!
But around three corners, he finds an animal in the road. That sound effect is even more fun: Toot! Toot! Screech! Goat, Sheep and Bear decide to come along with Pierre. They cooperate together when the car breaks down just before reaching the top of the mountain. (Toot! Toot! Zut!)
But as they head down the other side, it turns out (no surprise) that the car has no brakes. The pictures of the disaster are most exciting, but all four animals reassure us that they are not hurt. At first, it seems a terrible outcome, but the four animals come up with an ingenious solution as they realize that all four have indeed found friends.
Perhaps our enjoyment of the story was increased because that day only little boys came to storytime. (They did not respond with nearly as much interest to a book about a princess. Go figure.) But this book was definitely tremendous fun for all of us to enjoy together.