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Digby O’Day: In the Fast Lane by Shirley Hughes

Digby O’Day: In the Fast Lane
By Shirley Hughes
Illustrated by Clara Vulliamy

Candlewick Press

ISBN: 9780763673697
Grades 1-3
Out August 26, 2014

*Best New Book*

Find it at:
Schuler Books | Your Library

Some books make it look so dang easy, don’t they? Perfect example: Digby O’Day: In the Fast Lane by two-time Kate Greenaway Medal winner Shirley Hughes and her daughter Clara Vulliamy. The characters are immediately pals. The plot moves briskly, with enough excitement to keep the reader wanting more. The illustrations make the whole thing hang together perfectly. I dare you: try to not like this book. Actually, don’t bother – it’s futile. Just love it.

Digby O’Day loved his car and took great care of it.

Dapper hound Digby and his friend, the diminutive Percy are the best of friends. Percy helps Digby keep his car in tip top shape, and Digby takes Percy out on the road. When the All Day Race is announced, the pair join a crowded field, including their snooty neighbor Lou Ella, who always has the newest, fastest, pinkest car. After a death-defying run-in with a train Percy and his pal lend a helping hand to a family who once got them out of a jam, and pick up a shortcut tip along the way. Will it be enough to beat Lou Ella?

The pacing of the story is excellent. Each chapter serves a purpose, introducing characters and moving the plot forward. Action comes at a regular clip as Digby and Percy get themselves into binds that will have readers anxious to see what happens next.

Side note: I love the fact that this book doesn’t scream “BOY” or “GIRL”. I can see both picking it up – always a plus in my book.

The stylish illustrations are a nice mix of retro and modern. Subtle patterns give the artwork a refined look that isn’t too stuffy. Red and all its shades add richness.

I’m pleased to say this is the first in a three book series, with the first chapter of the next story in the back of the book. It’s a good thing – readers will want more. Sweet and satisfying.

Review copy from the publisher.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.