Sunday, June 12, 2011

On the Sunny Side of the Street: My Side of the Car by Kate Feiffer

My Dad and I are going to the zoo.

We have tried to go to the zoo before. But we never get there.

Something always happens.

Once Mom broke her foot and the excursion had to be re-routed to the Emergency Room. Then the family dog gets lost and they have to organize a search party. And finally a surprise visit from Granddad and Grandma interrupt the zoo trip.

But this time nothing can stop us, the girl thinks. They're off to the zoo.

Then Dad breaks into the peaceful trip with a weather alert.

"Sadie, it's raining."

I look out my window. "No, it's not."

"It's not raining on my side of the car."

My dad keeps on driving.

The sprinkles become a shower, but Sadie is convinced the weather signs are looking good on her side. "Sun is shining on my side. People are putting on their sunglasses and watering their lawns." Dutifully, Dad stoically keeps driving as the drizzle turns to a dowsing, and the dowsing turns to a deluge; Sadie continues to report nothing but sunbathing and fields of sunflowers on her side. As Dad reports that the windshield wipers are floundering in the flood, Sadie finally admits to seeing one tiny droplet on her window.

At last they reach the zoo, where the last zoo goers are rushing to their cars under umbrellas.

"What do you think?" Dad asks.

"I think ... we should come back to the zoo another day."

"So do I," said Dad.

Kate Feiffer honors her own dad in this newest collaboration with her famous father, Jules Feiffer, as she tells the true story of a rained-out father-daughter expedition in their My Side of the Car (Candlewick, 2011). Jules Feiffer's trademark wavy lines and droll cartoon style, down up in an appropriately almost-washed-out palette, set off this low-key father and daughter adventure. Unlike Annie, the semi-autobiographic Sadie doesn't have to wait 'till tomorrow for the sun to come out, and Dad dutifully turns the car around when, on the way home, the sun appears to shine at last on their overdue trip to the zoo. All's well that ends well, and kids will empathize with the persistent optimism of Sadie, a girl who believes in looking on the sunny side, always on the sunny side, and appreicate a wonderful father who understands his daughter so well.



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