My First Car Was Red is a really unique picture book by German author and illustrator Peter Schossow. It’s the story of a boy who is given an old, rusty pedal car by his grandfather. Together, they repair the car and give it a new coat of shiny red paint. The boy wants to take it out for a spin straight away but his grandfather takes him off to the Driving School to have lessons first. When he finally gets to go off on his own his little brother wants to join him, and this is the start of a wild ride uphill and downhill, through fields, spooky forests and tunnels, nearly hitting pigs, and being chased by wasps.
The thing that really makes this book unique are the road signs throughout the book. Each of the signs match up with the story perfectly (a speed bump sign for the bumpy field, a rockfall sign when they reach a cliff) and the story could almost be told without words, just the road signs.
The relationship between the brothers is realistically portrayed. I especially liked when the little brother offered to kiss his arm better. The story is perfect for boys (especially 4 and 5 year olds) because of the topic and the way in which the author talks about cars. Boys will be hooked right from the start where Peter describes all the work they have to do on the car
“First we took the whole thing apart…Then we hammered, sanded, patched and painted. I chose the colour – shiny red. We drilled holes and tightened nuts; we greased and oiled and upholstered.”
My First Car Was Red is a story to be read again and again, finding new things in the illustrations each time.
8 out of 10