2006-10-11 / Book Review

Children's Book Hails Taxis

My Little Yellow Taxi, Stephen T. Johnson, 0-15-216465-0 978-0-15- 216465-2, Ages 3 to 7, 14 pages, $19.95 hardcover, with movable parts, Red Wagon Books/Harcourt.

With more than 12,000 taxis cruising New York City's streets, and millions of tiny

replicas sold as souvenirs

in gift shops, the car is virtually a symbol of the city itself. Taxis are so ubiquitous, they seemed a natural subject for Caldecott Honor artist Stephen T. Johnson, who has created an interactive book for young children featuring the iconic vehicle.

My Little Yellow Taxi (Red Wagon Books/Harcourt, October, $19.95 interactive novelty book) invites children to take a spin in a shiny yellow cab. The book includes sixteen interactive features that show eager young drivers what it takes to get a taxi ready to roll: The mirror needs to be adjusted, the oil needs to be checked, the engine needs to be started, and there's more to do. A clock on each page counts down the minutes, introducing the concept of telling time. With its sturdy construction, the taxi is built to be "driven" again and again.

"The owner narrates: 'I put my key in the so will kids, sliding a cardboard key (that pops like a puzzle piece out of the book's thick pages) into the slot of an 'ignition.' By using pull tabs and movable pieces, busy hands can also spin the steering wheel, open the hood, and adjust the rearview mirror-a fine day's work for any wannabe cabdriver."

Child magazine, "The Best New Stories to Inspire Young Minds"

My Little Yellow Taxi is Johnson's third interactive picture book featuring primary colors. His first book, My Little Red Toolbox (Red Wagon/Harcourt, 2000), was an immediate hit, and has sold nearly 300,000 copies. My Little Blue Robot followed in 2002. "The taxi has a personality; there's a charm and friendliness to it," Johnson said in a recent interview. "Also, the taxi relates stylistically to a sense of timelessness that I wanted to address with my previous two books."

My Little Yellow Taxi is an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio

Platinum Award winner.

Taxis have been ferrying passengers around New York City for nearly 100 years, but they continue to change with the times. In 2005 the Design Trust for Public Space, a not-for-profit agency dedicated to improving New York City's parks, plazas, streets, and public buildings, began a dialogue about how to improve the iconic cab. The Design Trust is using the program findings as the basis for Taxi 07, a program that celebrates the taxi's 2007 centennial. In June 2006 the city approved use of hybridelectric cars and vehicles powered by compressed natural gas.

Stephen T. Johnson lived in New York City for 13 years. Several of his books are inspired by the urban landscape, including Alphabet City (Viking, 1995), which won a Caldecott Honor, and Hoops by Robert Burleigh (Harcourt, 1997), an ALA Notable Children's Book and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. In addition to creating books, Johnson has designed a tile mural for the Metropolitan Transit Authority in Brooklyn, New York, a mural for the University of Kansas at Lawrence and a three-dimensional interactive exhibit for Lawrence Memorial's Hospital pediatric wing. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

Harcourt Trade Publishers is part of Harcourt Education, a global education provider serving students and teachers in Pre-K through grade 12, adult learners and readers of all ages. In addition to Harcourt Trade Publishers, the Harcourt Education companies include Harcourt School Publishers; Holt, Rinehart and Winston; Harcourt Achieve (including the Rigby, Steck-Vaughn, and Saxon imprints); Harcourt Assessment; Classroom Connect; Greenwood/Heinemann and Harcourt Education International. For more information, visit www.HarcourtBooks.com or www.harcourt.com.

Harcourt Education is part of Reed Elsevier Group PLC. (www.reedelsevier.com), a world-leading publisher and information provider. It is owned equally by Reed Elsevier PLC (NYSE: RUK) and Reed Elsevier NV (NYSE: ENL).

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