Posted in Preschool Reads

Book Review: Ride, by Stephen Gammell (Harcourt, 2001)

rideRecommended for ages 3-6

A mother and father decide to take their children on a Sunday ride. The siblings don’t share their parents’ enthusiasm. Once in the car, it begins. First come the insults: “You’re a poopy face.” “You have booger breath.” The argument escalates into an all-out fantasy brawl, with furniture flying, rockets blasting off, and a dinosaur showdown. Mother offers a snack, which calms things down momentarily: but for how long?

Mr. Gammell’s pastel-pencil-watercolor illustrations are bursting with color and energy. His rainbow palette is reminiscent of a Spin-Art machine, with splatters and smudges throughout each page. The text is woven into the story, as there is no narrator, only the dialogue between family members. The bold text exists in the same space as the illustration, with exaggerated sizes, colors, and splatters. The book will appeal to young audiences, especially those with siblings or other family members who can relate to being stuck in a car with someone who drives them crazy, and the imaginative tussles that the siblings create.

This would be a fun addition to a sibling read-aloud. It may also be enhanced by using puppets to act out the family’s interactions; in particular, the brother and sister, whose battle frames the book. There are songs and fingerplays about siblings available that can be easily taught to audiences, including “Here is Sister/Here is Brother”, to the tune of Frere Jacques.



I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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