Saturday, 10 August 2013

Dixie O'Day In the fast Lane- Shirley Hughes and Clara Vulliamy

Dixie O'Day In the Fast Lane is a collaborative work between Shirley Hughes and her daughter Clara Vulliamy.  Aimed at young readers, it is a fantastic introduction to a basic chapter book and a perfect progression from picturebooks.  With seven short chapters it would also work well as a bedtime read for children not yet confident to read alone.
Dixie O'Day in the Fast Lane is the first book in the Dixie O'Day series.  We are introduced to Dixie and his sidekick Percy as they embark on a calamitous race reminiscent of an episode of Wacky Races.  They meet a variety of challenges on their journey as they topple on a cliff edge and get stuck on a train track-can they overcome these mishaps and finish before confident, cocky Lou Ella? 
With simple red, white and black illustrations, Clara Vulliamy has created bold, attractive artwork which perfectly compliments the text.  The movement and velocity in the images will capture a child's imagination and adds to the quick-paced nature of the book.  Dixie and Percy are illustrated as charming, visually appealing characters full of mischief and fun.
The additional content is superb.  A detailed map precedes the story allowing children to visualise Dixie and Percy's adventure (and maps are always very popular with children!), and also question and answers sessions with Dixie, an array of suggestions of games to play on a car journey and a quiz section which acts as an introduction to comprehension activities.
I am already a huge Dixie O'Day fan.  Shirley Hughes and Clara Vulliamy have come up trumps.  Dixie O'Day In the Fast Lane is a brilliant first chapter book for younger readers.  Exciting and appropriate for the target age range, it would make a lovely gift or keepsake for children aged five-eight.  I particularly like the array of additional features that set it apart from other books. 
Dixie O'Day In the Fast Lane is out now, published by The Bodley Head, an imprint of Random House Children's Publishers. 
With thanks to Random House Children's Publishers who provided me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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