Sunday, March 9, 2008

Lightning McQueen books

As you read the title of this post, which category did you fall into?

Category 1: Parent or grandparent of a boy between the ages of 2-5. Your first thoughts were probably along the lines of: "there are BOOKS about Lightning McQueen? Really? Where can I get them? Is rush shipping available?"

Category 2: Everyone else. You probably asked yourself: "who is Lightning McQueen?"

For those of you who fall into the first category, yes, there are books about Lightning McQueen. See the specifics below. And for those of you in the second category, he's the main character in the Pixar movie Cars. Here's a picture of him:

I've done some informal observation and have found that just about every little boy I've met is obsessed with this movie. I think it's for two reasons. One, it's about cars. (I guess that's rather obvious from the title). Two, it doesn't have any scary parts. (If you think that's also obvious because it's a movie for kids, then you probably haven't watched a lot of kids' movies lately. Almost all of them have inexplicably scary parts).

Please keep in mind that I'm recommending the books below only for Cars-crazed kids. I'm not endorsing them as good literature, but here are some resources if you're looking for them. I usually hate this kind of commercial stuff, but I also recognize that sometimes a kid just wants to read about something they're interested in. And, the important thing is that they're reading.

Disclaimers aside, here are the (relatively) good books I've found on the subject. And, yes, I'm the parent of a Cars addict.

Old, New, Red, Blue! This is a basic opposites book using the Cars characters, and it's a good choice for the 2-3 year old crowd. There are only a few words per page, which is just right for that age range. It's a small paperback so it travels well. I highly recommend it.

Cars Little Golden Book: This book retells the movie. The paragraphs are a bit too long, but the illustrations of the various cars (which is really all my son is interested in) are pretty good. My main quibble with this book is that it cuts off the story well before the ending and doesn't include the all important final race.

Cars Ultimate Sticker Book: DK has tons of sticker books, and this one is fairly typical. I think it has way too much text and it's a little advanced for the 2-3 year old age range. But, it has 60 stickers of Lightning McQueen and friends, and works well as a travel activity.

Cars Resuable Sticker Book: I like this sticker book better than the DK sticker book, because it has a lot more stickers. Plus, there are tons of activities. My main issue with it is that it's oversized and it's difficult to fit into a diaper bag, purse or backpack. Also, we found the stickers to be reusable only a few times each... after that they stopped working.

The Fast Lane: A basic coloring book featuring Cars characters. The pictures are large and easy to color. It's 64 pages, which is a good size for a coloring book.

Have you come across any other Cars books that you'd recommend or that your kids liked?

Have I lost all my credibility as a reviewer by writing this post?


  1. To answer your last question, no! Of course not. I'm sure your son's literary diet isn't composed entirely of Cars-themed books, and even if it were, they're still books, after all. I'm sure a lot of people will appreciate knowing which ones are most worthwhile.

    And I agree with you 100% about the inexplicably scary bits in kids' movies, by the way. We watch only the very tamest of things over here--and they're hard to find. Leo's seen more movies at school(?!) than at home.

  2. Anamaria-
    Thanks! That makes me feel better. Actually, the only Cars book my son owns is one of the sticker books... the other books are ones I know from the store I work at. We carry a few Cars books... not a huge amount, but they're almost impossible to keep in stock because they sell so quickly.

    I don't understand why there are so many scary parts in kids' movies. Winnie the Pooh is one my son has seen recently that isn't scary.

  3. My favorite part about Cars is the Pitcrew. I also like the old race car driver who gave it all up. Sorry I've only seen it once don't remember his name
    Who's Driving by Timmers is a nice book. Nothing at all like cars, but it has vehicles


  4. Hi Doret- The old race car's name is Doc and his voice is done by Paul Newman. I agree, the pit crew is pretty funny. Actually, the movie has a lot of great jokes. Thanks for the book recommendation- I'm always looking for good books about transportation.

  5. Thanks for assuming I'd be too lazy to look up the name of the old car because you were right. You always gave me a sweet bonus the name of the actor who did the voice.


  6. oh no...this is my future life in two and a half years when Ari discovers Disney movies and cars and promotional tie-ins... :) But I am always one for stickers so I guess it won't be all that bad.

  7. Jody- I held off as long as possible, but then he saw Cars at his grandparents house (actually- at the houses of BOTH sets of grandparents) and he instantly became obsessed. After that, there was no turning back.

    And you're right, there are some cool sticker books out there. One of my book-buying responsibilities for the store is sticker books, and I'm always surprised at the variety.

  8. My 26 month old son just discovered Cars, and you are right, there is no turning back.

    He's been enjoying a Golden book called "I'm a Truck" lately. He's also been enjoying one called "Bad Kitty".

  9. Welcome to the club, Pirate Ninja Mommy! I'd offer to lend you some of our Cars paraphernalia, but my son would kill me.

    I don't know "I'm a Truck." I'll have to check it out. I love Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel, where the cat methodically destroys items in alphabetical order.

  10. My boys love Cars, Cars, and more Cars... The little one isn't a read-alone reader yet, but he loves "Cars Look & Find"... it's like a "Where's Waldo" for Radiator Springs.

    His brother loves "Roadwork!" It's a level 2 Step Into Reading book.