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If I Built a Car
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If I Built a Car

4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  989 ratings  ·  148 reviews
?If i built a car, it?d be totally new! Here are a few of the things that i?d do. . . .? Jack has designed the ultimate fantasy car. inspired by zeppelins and trains, Cadillacs and old planes, with brilliant colors and lots of shiny chrome, this far-out vision is ready to cruise! there?s a fireplace, a pool, and even a snack bar! After a tour of the ritzy interior, robert ...more
Paperback, 40 pages
Published June 14th 2007 by Puffin (first published May 5th 2005)
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Audience: Primary

Genre: Fantasy

Pre-Reading Strategy: This book has some complex vocabulary in it that I would want to preview with students before we read. I would use an open word sort, asking students organize the words into groups based on how they think they're related. After students have grouped their words, ask them to share their groupings as a class and their guess about what the book will be about. After each group guesses work through defining any words that remain unknown together. T
CH_Emily Scholnik
Winner of the 2006 E.B. White Read Aloud Award. Publishers Weekly says, "Energetic verse and jubilant, action-packed artwork make this tale of a young inventor's fantastic daydream a joy ride."
Suited for grades 2nd through 5th.
Young Jack has designed the ultimate fantasy car, inspired by trains, planes, and old Cadillacs. Pack full of amenties such as a snack bar, a pool and a fireplace and upgrades with shiny chrome, this futuristic car is out of this world. It even comes complete with a driver
This is a fun book! The illustrations are amazing, so colorful and bright, and retro. They remind me of a 1950's diner. The rhythm of the rhyme was spot on, too. A bit like reading a Dr. Seuss book. The children I read this to really got into it and just loved the car and all the cool things it could do. It branched off into discussions of our own imaginations and how anything is possible if we first dream and then do. This is how our voting stacked up: Really liked=207, Just okay=8, Didn't like ...more
This story won the E.B. White Read Aloud Award. It is a science fiction tale told in rhyme about a boy designing his dream car. Plans include things that kids and adults alike wish would be part of car designs like a polymer gel so your car won't dent and a snack bar. It even come with a robot driver and a swimming pool. Great pictures and fun story for young kids pre-school to 3rd grade. This would be a great story to have students respond to by having them invent their own car with special fea ...more
Gina Pecoraro
Format: Picture Book
Award: E.B. White Read Aloud
Interest Level: K-2

Jack explains to his dad what type of care he would build if he had the chance. Jack's imagination creates a "spectacular" car.

This is a great book to read aloud to students. The pictrues are very bright and colorful. It's a good example of what we could do with our imaginations. After reading this book in the classroom, you could have students design their own car. The students will have fun with this activity.
Ashley Sparks
I loved this book! It reminded me sooo much of Dr. Williams and his architectural tendencies. This is the tale of a little boy who tells his dad how he would design a car if he built a car. The child's creativity and imagination remind me just how interesting children are. The story ends with the boy in his room drawing designs for his car. It was inspiring to me and reminded me of how we need to encourage children to pursue their dreams.
Move over Dr. Seuss...Chris Van Dusen is the new master at imaginative storytelling in rhyme with fantastic illustrations to match! Colorful, contemporary artwork captures our imaginations as a young boy reveals his ideas for a spectacular car of the future.

Recommended for grades KG - 2. Great book for read aloud and class discussions on creativity inspiring invention.
This is a fun book written in rhyme. I think every kid, and adult who can remember back that far, thinks up all kinds of crazy things they would have if they could design their own car. The illustrations are colorful, detailed and fun. My youngest (5) kept interrupting to show me funny things going on in the pictures. My son, 7, was really excited by the fact that all sorts of crazy things were being added to the car. He has similar ideas of "what if..." and it was fun to see similar flights of ...more
A terrific rhyming picture book that is great fun to read aloud. Jack imagines his perfect car which is a mix of the clever, safe, and wildly imaginative. It also throws in great vocabulary words to talk about, including words like analyze, refine, reveal, and retractable.
The boys like this one, and it captures girls too. What kind of super neat car would you build if you could? (complete with swimming pool and snack bar, a car which can also be a submarine etc.)
Every time we read this book our son talks about how he would build a car. Even randomly throughout the week he will mention this... this book definitely stirs a child's Imagination!
We really enjoyed this book. The rhymes are great, the imagination is outstanding and it involves coming up with a great invention. It was right up my boy's alley. Ages 3 and up.
Wonderful book! I love the creativity and thought exploration. The car is amazing with some really innovative concepts. Both of my children love this book.
My niece and nephew both enjoyed If I Built a Car, which didn't surprise me. All of us like
Chris Van Dusen's Circus Ship, so I know that the kids like this author's style.

If I Built a Car was colorful, creative, and fun to read. My niece and nephew were both impressed with the fantasy car presented in this book, but I am worried. My nephew asked me if I could build a car like that in the story for him. Hm. I'm afraid that's beyond my current skill set, but I'm flattered that he'd ask.

I enjoy h
Amy Musser
One day Jack is riding in the back seat of the car while he dad drives and he begins to describe his dream car. He’d pour over design to create the perfect car, with three headlights, four taillights, two giant Cadillac fins, and a Plexiglas dome. Inside there’s a pool, an instant snack bar, and a robot built into the driver’s seat for when you get tired. But wait, there’s more! With a touch of a button the car becomes a boat, a submarine, and even a plane. The car will be cool and keen, one big ...more
Amanda Hicks
Can I have this car? I love how the author gives a child, the narrator of this story, all of the power. I think this tells kids that they can do anything if they really believe in themselves and really want to do something. I think this book would be better for an older primary aged group of children. You could use this book for science projects, vocabulary lessons for children who were interested in cars, or science I'm general. It's a very fun book and I loved it!
Dorian has gotten into this book several times and on different levels. When we first bought it, he loved the car illustrations. At some point, he was also really amused by the rhyming. Most recently, the book made a comeback because of the invention and design aspect, to the point that Dorian drew up his own plans for the perfect car. Van Dusen's illustrations are really appealing in a kid-friendly mid-century style. I recommend his other books, too!
Kaycee Greenwood
Imagination is the word that comes to mind when I think of this book. How this little boy comes up with is amazing; not realistic, but amazing never the less. The illustrations are simply beautiful. The whole but is written in a rhyme, so it is very easy to read and stay interested. It was the winner of the E.B. White Read Aloud Award winner and I'm no surprise at all!
Ashlyn Barker
Loved this book! I would love to use this as a read aloud for any elementary grade class in the future. Concepts of science fiction/fantasy, poetry, rhyming, and difficult vocabulary are all different things that could be brought out and emphasized from the text. Students would enjoy this humorous book and will like picturing it themselves!
Ruth Ruiz
I really enjoyed reading this book. the illustrations are colorful, vibrant, and playful! This makes me imagine what kind of car I would design if I could. I think children from primary even up to middle school would enjoy this book since it allows the audience to imagine their very own car if they could design one.
Megan Dorcas
I chose this book because I haven't read very many children's books that are about cars. I really liked this book because it has great illustrations and a great story to it. Kids would love this book because it encourages them to imagine, and to use their creativity just like the little boy.
I love the imagination and the futuristic theme. It reminded me of the animated movie Meet the Robertson's. I would read this aloud to my students and make them write about a car of their own and what they would want it to look like, to do, and to have inside of it.
Betty Hinton
Audience- This work would be great for 1st grade through 3rd grade students, for both boys and girls. The vocabulary in this book can be tricky for student to read by themselves.

Appeal- The book does a great job with rhyming and the sentences flow well together. The thing that is great about this book is the kid’s uses his imagination to show how he would build a car. He’s ideas are fun and exciting which will keep students engaged in the story.

Application-This book would be great to read you
I love how creative the kid in this book is! I enjoyed following along as the kid shows us just what he would add to his car creation and why. I would use this in a school age storytime and then let the kids design their own cars/vehicles.
Austin Hanson
I like that he builds a car and that there's a lot of cool things in the car like a seat that can drive all by itself and the floor can open up into a pool. Also there's a button and if you push it then food comes out.
So much fun to read with someone else. The illustrations are detail rich and wonderful. If you like this book, be sure to read "If I Built a House" too. Just as imaginative and cool!
I bought this book for my children's library section on the recommendation of my nephew.

Recently I read "If I Built a Car" and "If I Built a House" for story time with children ages 3 to 5. Both where a big hit. The kids loved it. Several of them wanted to borrow it right away, creating a waiting list.

The rich text and bold, bright pictures are seamlessly paired together. Van Dusen's pictures enhance his text and the kids could not wait to see/hear what the boy in the story would dream up next.
Wooden Horse
E.B. White Read Aloud Award

If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen is coming out soon so I decided to reread this book before reading the new one. It's just as much fun as the first time I read it several years ago. The main difference this time was that I got to share it with my three year male cousin who was immediately inspired to build a new Lego car. I love that the illustrations have reflections in the chrome accents of the car and lots of details to discover during subsequent readings.
I know a whole slew of car-lovers who'd gobble up this book. In Seuss-like rhyme, the boy in Van Dusen's book describes the car he'd design if he could. For safety's sake, it'd be build of a polymer gel so collisions would be no problem. And inside, there's a push-button instant snack bar, a robot to drive if you want to take a nap, and the floor can slide open to reveal a swimming pool. This car can skim across the water, dive below the surface, and fly! It's everything you hear kids describing ...more
read this when I was working for the WYCA with the early academic intervention - it is a wonderful books there are so many things you can do with it.
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Chris Van Dusen writes: “I was born in Portland, Maine, on St. Patrick’s Day, 1960. As a child, my brothers and I would spend hours drawing pictures. We didn’t have video games or computers to entertain us, so we drew instead. One of my brothers would sketch intricate war scenes. Another would draw animals so realistic you’d swear they were breathing. My specialty was aliens, robots, and monsters. ...more
More about Chris Van Dusen...
The Circus Ship A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee Randy Riley's Really Big Hit If I Built a House King Hugo's Huge Ego

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