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by Michael Perry
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From School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-A small Latino boy goes for a ride in big brother Hector's '63 Impala convertible "complete with spider hydraulics and gold wire wheels." Daniel snaps his fingers to the loud boom-boom of the radio, loves the look and even the smell of the car, and when he's spotted his peers as he zooms by, he knows he's "gonna be the coolest kid in school." But-big brother has a bigger plan in mind. He offers the boy a deal: high-school graduation with college plans for Daniel, and then he'll have the car for his very own. Of course, Daniel accepts the condition. If the story sounds didactic, that's because it is. The transition from a kid's wished-for ride to a mini-lesson in determination and effort is abrupt and overstated; the language is often stilted and inconsistent. Daniel switches from a colloquial realistic mingling of Spanish and English to adult-sounding phrases like "a subtle voice," "he has painted an elaborate scene from Mexican history," and the like. The illustrations, in oil paint on board, are done in glowing colors and succeed in establishing the mood of an evening ride through Los Angeles, with scenes like that of a low rider silhouetted against a sunset with palm trees and a group of boys hanging out on a basketball court. There are, however, no really individual, recognizable faces: they portray moods rather than people; they are more paintings than illustrations.
Marian Drabkin, formerly at Richmond Public Library, CA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 2-4. "Today my big brother, Hector, promised to take me cruisin' in his low rider," says Daniel, the narrator of this vibrant picture book. When Hector arrives, Daniel hops into the '63 Impala convertible, and the two take off through the streets, cruising the beach strip, blasting music, and turning the hydraulic switches so that the car becomes "a funky barrio carnival ride." After a stop to visit cousin Diego, the ride is over, but Hector has another wonderful surprise: he promises to give Daniel the Impala if the boy finishes high school and plans to go to college. With its crackling dialogue and sound effects, the text has an energetic, optimistic momentum that's echoed in the unusual collage paintings. Readers will feel the charged thrill of the ride in the rich, deep, orange-and-green spreads, broad brushstrokes, and kinetic angles. A small introductory glossary defines the Latino words used in the story. A great choice for reading aloud or for urban kids to read alone. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Alan Caruba, Bookviews, May 1, 2001
This beautifully illustrated book speaks to the importance of having a dream and working to make it come true.
Alexandra Torres, 3rd Grade Teacher
This delightful tale of brotherly love is sure to capture the attention and emotion of ALL readers, young and old.
Michael Prada, Elementary School Principal
Its positive message and heartfelt warmth make Daniel's Ride a must read!
"It provides a loving look at an inner-city culture, complete with a few words in Spanish for authenticity."
Children's Bookwatch/Midwest Book Review
"Lee Ballard's artwork is perfectly suited to Perry's entertaining story of two brothers, a car, and a beautiful sunny day."
The Epiphany Eagle
"It's positive message and heartfelt warmth make Daniel's Ride a must read."
Marine Teachers Assn.
"This delightful tale of brotherly love is sure to capture the attention and emotion of ALL readers, young and old."
"Perry has managed to write one of the most firme (powerful) books ever published."
It's the first day of summer vacation and the sun is shining bright on the big city. Young Daniel is anxiously awaiting the arrival of his big brother Hector and his custom '63 Impala lowrider. Daniel and Hector cruise the boulevard, compete in a lowrider hopping contest at the beach, and drive downtown to visit their artist cousin Diego who's painting an elaborate mural. But the ride doesn't end there. Along the way, Daniel receives an unexpected gift from his big brother: the gift of determination. When Hector promises to give Daniel the car for graduating from high school, Daniel resolves to do just that, so one day he can give Hector a ride to remember.
This engaging tale of brotherly love evolves out of the underrepresented Latino experience and makes it accessible to young people everywhere. Never before has a children's picture book captured the subtleties and nuances of America's true favorite pastime: cruising. Nor has there been a book which reflects the inner city "lowrider" culture in a positive upbeat perspective.
Lee's cutting-edge illustrations truly depict the essence of urban life. As an artist, Lee's paintings have been exhibited from San Francisco to New York, and as far east as Japan. His work can also be seen in the upcoming full-length animated movie, Wave Twisters (Thud Rumble Inc.). Lee teaches oil painting at the Academy of Arts College in San Francisco, CA.
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