Genre: African American / Folktale / Cars
Year Published: 2005
Year Read: 2011
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Content Rating: Ages 4+ (Nothing Objectionable)
I have read many folktales before in the past, but I have never read a folktale quite like this one. “Roy Makes a Car” is a children’s book written by Mary E. Lyons along with illustrations by Terry Widener and it was based off of a story collected by Zora Neale Hurston. In this tale, Roy tries to show everyone that he can make a car that can prevent more accidents on the road. Will he succeed? Find out when you read “Roy Makes a Car!”
I have really enjoyed this book! It was quite unusual for a folktale because it was more modern day than any of the other folktales I have read before in the past. Most folktales I have read took place during the 1800s or before that, but this story seems to have taken place during the 1900s, which is kind of recent considering how many folktales take place a long time ago. Anyway, Mary E. Lyons has done an excellent job at retelling this old African-American folktale about a man who wanted to build a car that is accident-proof. I loved how Mary E. Lyons made Roy into a creative character that had ideas that could help the community and Roy inventing a car that can avoid accidents was extremely creative and I wish that in real life, we had cars that could do amazing stunts like Roy’s car could do. I also loved the exaggerated style that Mary E. Lyons brings to the story, such as having Roy’s car perform outrageous stunts to avoid other cars like having his car shrunk underneath a larger car to avoid the larger car. Terry Widener’s illustrations truly capture the exaggerated nature of this book as the characters have outrageous expressions on their faces when they saw the amazing tricks that Roy’s car can do and I loved the images of Roy’s car, which was a black and normal looking automobile, shrinking under a large car to avoid the large car because Roy’s car looked so hilarious when it shrunk underneath that large car.
Overall, “Roy Makes a Car” is a truly brilliant book for children who love reading African-American folktales and who love reading about cars. I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book and the text is simple enough for smaller children to read through.
* American Folklore Society Aesop Award