By the Side of the Road

By the Side of the Road

by Jules Feiffer
     
 

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Richard won't stop fooling around in the backseat of the car, despite his father's warning that he's going to pull over by the side of the road and let Richard out in the middle of nowhere unless he behaves.

But Richard doesn't learn. After an hour by the side of the road, he decides it's not such a bad place. So that's where he takes up residence, first in a

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Overview

Richard won't stop fooling around in the backseat of the car, despite his father's warning that he's going to pull over by the side of the road and let Richard out in the middle of nowhere unless he behaves.

But Richard doesn't learn. After an hour by the side of the road, he decides it's not such a bad place. So that's where he takes up residence, first in a small house, and then, as the months and years go by, in a network of underground hideaways, all by the side of the road. And it is here that Richard grows into manhood, marriage, and fatherhood -- with his parents moving in as baby-sitters -- still by the side of the road.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Instead of running away from home, home runs away from Richard when he continues to misbehave in the backseat of the car. As punishment, Richard is abandoned by the side of the road until his parents return three hours later. During that time, Richard decides he likes it there. At least no one tells him what to do. He tells his father he'd like to wait there some more. When his father returns a second time, Richard is ready to go home�until his father asks him if he's learned his lesson yet. Richard has, but the way his father asks makes him unlearn the lesson he is in the middle of learning. Both parents attempt to retrieve Richard but just end up quarrelling. The quarrel ends when Richard announces he's spending the night and they had better go home. Then and there, he decides to live by the side of the road, becoming somewhat of a local celebrity. By now he has devised a small network of tunnels where he stores items he finds near the road and some necessities provided by his parents. Two-thirds of the way through the book Daisy appears to a 17-year-old Richard. Daisy moves into the tunnel next to his. He means to kick her out, but doesn't. What occurs next could be something out of a futuristic or science fiction film. Below the cluttered city skyline and traffic lays Rudy's (Richard's brother) state-of-the-art tunnel, contrasted with the simplicity of Richard's family tunnel. It seems his parents have forgiven Richard for misbehaving in the car, as they now live in Richard's tunnel system. A nice escape that might not be such a bad idea! As a parent I am abhorred that anyone could leave his or her child unattended anywhere. Hopefully no one will get any ideas! I believe the intent ofthis work is to simplify as much as possible, as a Thoreau-style for the 21st century. A great discussion starter about discipline, stubborn children, and freedoms. This can certainly be enjoyed by those older than 12-years-old. The black and white illustrations force us to color the story as we go along. Although there isn't much light underground, it seems quite symbolic to present this book in black and white. 2002, Michael Di Capua Books/Hyperion Books for Children,
— Elizabeth Young
School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up-"`If you don't behave,' my father said, `I'm gonna pull over right here, and you can wait by the side of the road-.'" Richard, who had been roughhousing with his brother in the backseat, chooses the road. Dad, Mom, and Rudy check back several times to see if the boy has learned his lesson, but he "unlearns" it with each new confrontation with authority. Hours turn into days, then years, and although the scenes are created in black and white, the characterizations and issues certainly aren't. A seemingly abusive father mellows with time, at first arriving with aluminum siding (the resulting house is placed in a sophisticated labyrinth of underground tunnels), later moving in "next door." He plays cards with his grandchildren, and, along with Mom, rides in Richard's backseat to visit Rudy-in his "more state-of-the-art tunnel in Seattle." Graduates of James Stevenson's Are We Almost There? (Greenwillow, 1985) will be interested in following the adventures of a boy who stands his ground-or, more precisely, digs it up. The book's smallish size, horizontal orientation, and rectangular scenes bordered in white create a comic-strip look, perfect for the audience. Feiffer's relaxed, sketchy style and understated language provide a foil to the complexity of his story, yielding smiles of surprise and satisfaction.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780756793715
Publisher:
DIANE Publishing Company
Publication date:
06/28/2005
Pages:
59
Age Range:
5 - 10 Years

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