TAXI!!!!

Here’s my review, courtesy of The Dispatch

The Taxi That Hurried
By Lucy Sprague Mitchell
Irma Simonton Black and Jessie Stanton
Pictures by Tibor Gergely
Published in 1943 by Golden Books

This children’s story is about a cute little yellow taxi with red stripes all around its body that lives and drives in some vaguely Philadelphia-ish American city circa WWII.

“It was a smart little taxi. For it could start fast-jerk-whizz!! It could tear along the street-whizz-squeak!! It could stop fast-squeak-jerk!! Its driver’s name was Bill. Together they made a speedy pair.”

While enjoying a smoke at his hackstand, our driver Bill is approached by a woman and her son who are running late and need a ride to the train station. On their journey, Bill drives like a maniac and they get stopped by the police, blocked by a coal truck and finally stuck in a traffic jam. Like all good cabbies, Bill lays into the horn to clear those pesky other vehicles and somehow ekes through the masses around the station and gets the family to their train with seconds to spare.

Terse and thrilling from cover to cover, I was soothed by the cool pastel illustrations of round, clown shaped taxis. In their lyrical, rhyming exchanges, Bill and the mother comment on the taxi industry (“We’re a speedy pair/We can get you there) as well as middle class angst while dealing with Man (“first it’s a cop that makes you stop and now we’re stuck behind a truck”). The ideological climax at the station hammers home two points-how train travel is cold and rigid while automobiles are speedy and flexible-and how man and machine working in tandem can serve the greater good.

(It appears that the reviews of this one at Amazon seem pretty well split about this book. I love this book but understand how someone might really hate it, too.)

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