Wednesday, October 08, 2014
That Look of Surprise
Enzo Races in the Rain/Enzo Picture Book #1
by Garth Stein
illustrated by R.W. Alley
review copy provided by the publisher
I love that look of surprise when you hand the right book to the right reader at just the right time. A review copy of Enzo Races in the Rain had just come, and I had a reader who was more than half of the way through Racing in the Rain: My Life as a Dog, the kids' adaptation of The Art of Racing in the Rain.
When I put this book in her hands, the look on her face was priceless! Like I was a magician, or something!
She read it right away, noting all of the ways it is different from Racing in the Rain. She was surprised that the story in the picture book didn't even get to chapter three in her book. (If I had seen that the full title includes "Enzo Picture Book #1, that would perhaps have explained that...) We noticed the careful marketing -- the cover background and font colors are exactly the same as Racing in the Rain (and the adult version, as well) and the dog looking out at the reader from the picture book matches the dog on her book. Except for the checkerboard collar. But we developed a theory about that.
My reader took the picture book home to read to her 5 year-old brother. After reading it again to him, she noted these similarities and differences:
•Enzo is in both
•Pile of stuffed animals is in both (although the "evilness" of the zebra is not dealt with in the picture book)
•Enzo is born on a farm
•The Farmer in the picture book is The Alpha Man in the chapter book
•Zoe is already born in the picture book, but is born later in the chapter book
•Enzo doesn't run with cars in the book
The biggest difference she noted was that Racing in the Rain is not about a dog running with cars in a rain storm (as portrayed in the picture book). It is about a dog whose owner is a race car driver. The checkerboard collar seems to be the only evidence of auto racing.
My reader's little brother didn't like the book much. But that's likely because he's more into superheroes than dog stories.