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Roller Coaster


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About the Author

MARLA FRAZEE has illustrated many enormously popular picture books. She lives in Pasadena, California.


PreS-Gr 2-This fun story (Harcourt, 2003), written and illustrated by Marla Frazee, tells the story of a young girl's first ride on a roller coaster. She waits in line for the coaster with her father, eventually takes her seat, and hangs on as it climbs up the hill. Terrified at first, the girl quickly realizes how much fun she is having. When the ride is over, she's ready to go again! The vibrant watercolor illustrations perfectly capture the different emotions on the faces of the riders. Amy Rubinate's incredibly expressive reading reflects the hesitation the child feels at the beginning of the ride and then the sound of sheer joy as the roller coaster zooms, zips, and loops the loop! Wonderful sound effects include carnival music, the whooshing noise of a roller coaster, and the whoops and hollers of the riders. Page-turn signals are optional. Children will be delighted.-Jenny Ventling, Dayton Metro Library, OH (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In this witty and exhilarating exegesis of a thrill ride, Frazee (Hush, Little Baby: A Folk Song with Pictures) takes readers for a trip on the "the Rocket," a roller coaster that looks like the letter "S" run amok. Slyly and deliberately building the tension with a step-by-step narrative, Frazee begins with the wait in line (including the last-minute defections), visually panning the passengers-to-be and using the type to direct readers' gaze to a girl ("At least one of them has never ridden on a roller coaster before, ever"). Finally it is time for the embarkation ("Now it is too late for anyone to change their mind") and the deliciously painful anticipation of the first descent ("S-l-o-w-l-y the train is pulled up the hill by chain"). With a "WHOOSH," the train becomes a blur of red that shoots through successive spreads of white space, zipping, zooming, dipping, diving and looping as it threatens to escape the pages' margins (the type turns red and swoops as well). The subject affords a marvelous showcase for Frazee's expressive watercolors: the widely variable responses of the riders supply sustained theater as the train hurtles through space, with degrees of ecstasy (or agony) triggered by each twist and turn. When the ride is over, the girl, no longer a novice, begs her teenage brother chaperone for an encore, "right now!" Frazee's readers are likely to follow suit. Ages 3-7. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Captur[es] both the train's breathtaking speed and a hilarious range of rider reactions with consummate skill."--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"A sweet and cheerful book."--The New York Times Book Review

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