Dixie O’Day In the Fast Lane by Shirley Hughes and Clara Vulliamy

Published by Bodley Head (ISBN: 978-1782300120)

In this, the first book of the series, Dixie O’Day and his friend, Percy, enter the All-Day Car Race looking for adventure- and they find it! Will their arch-enemy, Lou Ella win, or will good triumph?

Just the right size for little hands, this book is a complete delight! The illustrations work perfectly with the text and Dixie and Percy are very endearing characters. Told in seven chapters, this story would make a lovely read aloud for a class or (as it suggests on the inside back cover) as a chapter a night bedtime story. The simple use of colour is a pleasant change and adds to the appeal of the book.

Good triumphs throughout in this story. Things go wrong for Dixie and Percy in the little red car along the way, but they help others and are helped in return. Lou Ella, in her brand new, pink convertible, does not behave so well and (spoiler alert!) doesn’t win the race. The story presents many opportunities for discussion and the reader is really rooting for Dixie and Percy by the end of the race!

Dixie’s pride in his little red car is something that will appeal to many children. His car is not the newest or the fastest and is certainly not the most reliable, but he loves it all the same. The pictures of all the vehicles in the race are very engaging and children could imagine and design their own. There is also a map so their adventures can be followed. This could lead to work on mapping and writing routes and directions. Although it offers many opportunities for discussion and work, it is above all a lovely story for sharing!

There is a second book in this series, Dixie O’Day and The Great Diamond Robbery, and Dixie has his own website.