“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mitchell's License • Picture Book

Mitchell’s License
By Hallie Durand • Illustrated by Tony Fucile
Just out! • Candlewick Press  • Picture Book
Hop in for a hilarious, heartwarming ride with four-year-old Mitchell, a kid with a need for speed, a lead foot, and a very special license to drive.
Story: Mitchell was three years, nine months, and five days old when he got his license. This tyke may be tiny, but when he hops behind the wheel—Left turn! Right turn! Speed Bump!—boy, does he go fast! This pro driver is having a blast! He’s running out of gas, though, and his car doesn’t like what type of fuel Mitchell plans to put in the tank…
Story-Behind the Story with Hallie:
I have three children, ages 12, 8, and 6, and for many years now, I’ve watched them play “Remote-Control Dad” with their father, whose energy is boundless.  I’ve been astonished, all these years, at how much joy there is for them in just getting up and doing something, without any electronics.  I wanted to write a story about this, but more important, I wanted to write about the love of a dad toward his kids, about the dad’s willingness to get knocked around, a lot, just to make his kids laugh. 

But I didn’t know how to do it, until one day, while I was working my way through a massive pile of paperwork, the “key” came to me.  And the “key” was that the Dad was not a remote-control dad at all, he was actually a car.  And the thrill for the kid was that he could get his license and drive, at a very early age.  Once I cracked that, the story, which is about kid power, parent boundaries, but most of all love and being a family, pretty much wrote itself.

What People Are Saying:

«“Mitchell, an overwrought toddler who almost (but not quite) rules the domestic roost, is instantly recognizable as every tyke who gets a second wind after nine o’clock.”
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

“In a nice pairing of text and art, illustrations show clearly and humorously what the spare narrative doesn’t, and doesn’t need to: three-year-old Mitchell’s car is actually his father, on whose shoulders Mitchell rides every night before bed…  This car and driver know how to have fun together, and the portrayal of father-son bonding is realistic and reassuring.”

An incredibly entertaining ride.”
Kirkus Reviews

This one is destined for family favoritehood.”
Publishers Weekly

“Young readers will be tickled, and parents will appreciate the creative bedtime play.”
School Library Journal

See “Mitchell” drive his “car!” This is actually Hallie’s own son, Marshall. How cute!
Download the story-hour kit!

FYI:  All the review copies for this title have been sent.  Please check back and see the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say...


Lisa said...

This is a very charming book. I think young children will find it humorous and entertaining. Children love to pretend and I think they could all relate to the storyline - a young boy pretending his dad is a car. I appreciated the use of vocabulary that was related to the topic of book. Words such as reverse, neutral, sputtering,and collision would be great words to discuss with children. The pictures definitely help to enhance students' understanding of this vocabulary. This would be a great book to pair with Pete's a Pizza by William Steig, a story of a dad who entertains his son on a rainy day by pretending he is a pizza. I would highly recommend this book as a read aloud for young children. I rate it a five.

Angela said...

I enjoyed Mitchell's License and so did my four year old daughter. The storyline is certainly relatable to that age group - not wanting to go to bed and the imaginary world in which they operate so often. When I first read it I thought, there's no way my daughter will understand the references to cars with such words like automatic, neutral, merged, hazards, etc. And I don't really think that she did, but the illustrations provided nice clues as to what they meant and with multiple rereads of this book I can see my daughter's understanding deepening and her schema for the vocabulary growing. When flipping through the book on her own she asked me, "What did they call those toys on the floor?" Speed bumps. For older kids, as a primary teacher, I think this would be a great book to model making inferences and figuring out what the book means but does not come right out and say. I loved the lead that presented a problem for the story right away. This is one that young writers could use as a mentor as they try on this strategy. The ending was completely satisfying, and another good model for young writers. Mitchell's License is a 5 in my book.

Vicky Richardson said...

This is a cute bed time story book. The illustrations really showed the Dad having fun as well as the son. This would make a great read aloud for the toddler age child.

PLLoggerR said...

Mitchell's License by Hallie Durand is just the book you want to read at bedtime or anytime. Mitchell has an active imagination, as does his Dad, and together they become a perfect driver and car, respectively. Durand depicts beautifully the stages one goes through in learning a new skill (though I hope we don't all crash on our first outing in a car!). Mitchell learns the rules of the road and how to control his car and so will your youngster.

The artwork, by Rony Fucile, is wonderful and expressive. Mitchell's Dad's look after running in to the wall is perfect--just what you'd expect in an accident. The use of speed bumps and a dotted line to show the driving path help the readers talk about terminology. My only question, why on a two way road is Mitchell on the left? I had to check to see if either author or illustrator were British!

I give this book a resounding 5!

Director, Peacham Library

Catherine said...

I loved this book. It was easy to become caught up in Mitchell's nightly "drive", but I reallly felt for his dad. He put up with a lot to get Mitchell to go to bed. The illustrations are great and I loved the writing. Simple and to the point.

I give this a 5.

Catherine Yezak
Special Education Teacher
Marquette Area Public Schools.

Carol said...

Hallie Durand's voice shines through the text, and her ability to merge family and fun by zooming in on meaningful moments in life, is matched by illustrator Tony Fucile. I found the car theme vocabulary to be of benefit and high interest to the reader. Words like automatic, coasted, and merged are only a few examples of the carefully chosen words in this book. Fucile infuses his effective onomatopoeias in all the right places. I also appreciate how the text and illustrations are explosive with movement and fluidity throughout the pages. It is always nice to see strong and influential dads in picture books too! Candlewick continues to impress me.


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this book. Every child can relate to a piggy back ride on the way to bed. I enjoyed the pictures and how they helped with the understanding of the text. The best part of the book was the drivers license. It is a way to extend a child's imagination. I rate this book a five in my basket.

Shanie said...

A very sweet book. I really enjoyed the use of the father to represent parts of a car. I also thought it was a good book that helped parents and children come up with new and fun bedtime routines. My only complaint about the book is that it would have been nice if both parents (mom and dad) participated so that cars wouldn't be such a "boy" thing.

Anonymous said...

Since school is not yet back in session, I brought this book home to share with my 2 year old daughter. It was an instant hit! I bet we have read it at least 3 times each night before bed the every night the last week. I love the vocabulary! She is now using those content words in context in her pretend play! This would be a great literacy resource to have in the home and/or block center in any ECE setting.

My daughter and I give it 5 shiny stars!

Dr. Anja Comerford (& MLS)
Gifted Teacher, Ocean Springs, MS

Anonymous said...

This was a fun bedtime picture book. Sure to be a hit with vehicle loving kids. The text was simple and to the point. The illustrations followed the story in an engaging way. Both Mitchell and his Dad were appealing and children will be drawn to their openness and friendly expressions. The "My Bedtime Driver's License" printout, that came in the Story-Hour Kit from Candlewick will be the perfect craft connection for this book in storytime.

Rating: 5

Heather Hart
Branch Librarian
Newport Beach Public Library

Heather Hill said...

"Mitchell's License" is a unique and imaginative story unlike any I've read before. Toddlers will love the story because of the piggyback ride with dad, who is pretending to be a car. My toddler wants a piggyback ride to bed every night since hearing this story.

The illustrations convey the movement and crashes of the story beautifully. The vocabulary of the story is real and appropriate, not made up or toddler speak. Little ones will become technical backseat drivers as they learn this vocabulary!

The extension activities included, particularly the license, are very cute and will appeal to children even older than toddler.

What a great book that kids will enjoy again and again.

I give this book a 5.

Heather Hill, Reading Specialist
Enterprise ES
Woodbridge, VA

Lindsay said...

I really adored this book and as they say, books come into your hands at the right time for a reason. We are struggling with bedtime with our three year-old so this has made that time a little easier to deal with!

The storyline is cute, the idea of a kid not wanting to go to bed and using his father as a car. I loved the premise of a parent having to deal with so much to get their kids to bed - I can relate. But making bedtime relate to a car trip is a great way to illustrate the frustrations parents and kids feel.

The illustrations were great and I loved the vocabulary that the author chose to use. Definitely makes kids read up to a higher level.



New Kent Middle School

Julia Pitau said...

I have to admit I really fell in love with this story. It brought back fond memories of my husband playing that sort of game when my children were young. Almost every page made me laugh. This is a book I believe children can enjoy as their parents read it to them, which is why I would recommend it more for home use than at school.

Picnic Rating: 4 1/2
Denair Charter Academy

Lemon the Duck said...

This will be a bedtime favorite for many! The prose and pictures combine to make a fun ride for all. Mitchell's ride begs to be read over and over---especially in this house! Lot of laughter and fun right from the get go.
The illustrations really help the reader in their understanding of the vocabulary; kids will be eager to put them into action. I rate this book a 5 out of 5. It's a great way to end the day and connect with a little one.
Laura Backman
Hathaway School

Anonymous said...

Kids will "gear" up for a good night's sleep after hearing this clever bedtime read aloud and taking a couple laps around their own track. I give it a five.

janew said...

A fun read that will delight its listeners! The text and illustrations are beautifully combined. 4 BRIGHT STARS.

Janssen said...

I love love love this book. And the day after it came, I found my husband reading it alone, while our baby was playing in another room. It's a hit!

I think it's very funny and lends itself to fabulous sound effects. And I just adore the sweet depiction of family life.

Definitely a winner!