Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
By the Side of the Road

By the Side of the Road

Fall 2002 Picture Books
Ages: All Ages
Artist: Jules Feiffer
ISBN: 0-7868-0908-6
Hardcover Price: $15.95
This is a picture book like no other. A mesmerizing real-life fantasy, it explores convoluted family ties and conflicts. Once begun, it is difficult, if not impossible, to put down. When Richard, a boy of seven or eight, refuses to stop fooling around in the back seat of the family car with his younger brother Rudy, his angry father warns: "If you don't behave, I'm gonna pull over right here, and you can wait by the side of the road till I come and get you." Sure enough, that's what happens, and Richard discovers that the side of the road is exactly where he wants to live.. How the rest of the family reacts to this bizarre decision, and abets Richard in his whacko plans, makes compelling reading. Even as - or perhaps because - the reader/viewer knows this situation could never happen in real life, we eagerly turn each page to see what will happen next. Adult cartoonist Feiffer has outdone himself in this, his latest children's book. Not only is it entertainingly original, it is thought-provoking and strangely satisfying.
Selma G. Lanes   ©2002 Parents' Choice

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