Going Places


A go-cart contest inspires imagination to take flight in this picture book for creators of all ages, with art from New York Times bestselling illustrator Peter H. Reynolds.

It’s time for this year’s Going Places contest! Finally. Time to build a go-cart, race it—and win. Each kid grabs an identical kit, and scrambles to build.

Everyone but Maya. She sure doesn’t seem to be in...

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A go-cart contest inspires imagination to take flight in this picture book for creators of all ages, with art from New York Times bestselling illustrator Peter H. Reynolds.

It’s time for this year’s Going Places contest! Finally. Time to build a go-cart, race it—and win. Each kid grabs an identical kit, and scrambles to build.

Everyone but Maya. She sure doesn’t seem to be in a hurry...and that sure doesn’t look like anybody else’s go-cart!

But who said it had to be a go-cart? And who said there’s only one way to cross the finish line?

This sublime celebration of creative spirit and thinking outside the box—both figuratively and literally—is ideal for early learners, recent grads, and everyone in between.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Although it has the whiff of an inspirational speech, this tale by the Reynolds brothers has enough entertainment value to avoid feeling inspid. Rafael is a dedicated instruction-follower, while his neighbor Maya is the dreamy sort: "She was so intent on watching the bird in front of her, and quickly sketching it, that she didn't even notice Rafael." When their teacher gives the class identical "Going Places" go-cart kits for an upcoming contest, Rafael realizes that collaborating with Maya, who envisions a flying machine instead of a car, might help him to victory. Sure enough, they dominate the contest. While the message about outside-the-box thinking is impossible to miss, the book is also an observation about how opposite temperaments can lead to successful collaborations. Still, Maya is a strong figure; Rafael's view of her over the fence as she experiments with a set of geared wings and pedals is an encouraging vision of the "maker" child who prefers crafting things herself to watching them on a screen. Ages 4–8. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
Some people are good at following instructions, while others are good at “thinking outside the box.” The box in question is a go-cart kit given to Rafael’s class so that they can build cars for the “Going Places” race. Rafael builds an exact replica of the vehicle in the instructions, while his neighbor, Maya, is studying birds and planning a very different flying go-cart. Maya is clearly a right-brain thinker, an innovator, while Rafael goes by the book and the building instructions. Rafael questions the legality of a go-cart with wings, but Maya points out that nowhere do the rules specify that a go-cart cannot fly. Rafael, who seems to piggy-back on Maya’s original thinking, says that the rules also do not say that two people “can’t work together” as a team rather than competing as individuals. There is a nice message here about cooperation and two heads being better than one, but some readers might question why Rafael cannot just think for himself. Nevertheless, on the day of the race, Maya and Rafael take flight and soar to a fast finish. This is a fun and original book, proving that the author and illustrator must be right-brained, too. Maya, in particular, is a standout role model with original ideas, lots of self-confidence, and great faith in the integrity of her design. The students in the class are multi-ethnic, adorably comic, and always seem to be moving forward at great speed with small puffs of smoke following in their wake. Kudos to the authors for giving superior STEM skills to an enterprising girl, who knows how to lead the way and a boy who knows how to hitch his wagon to a star. This is will be a great book for encouraging initiative, invention, and mechanical skills in young girls. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross; Ages 4 to 8.
Kirkus Reviews
Imagination soars—quite literally—when a little girl follows her own set of rules. Every year Oak Hill School has a go-kart race called the Going Places contest. Students are given identical go-kart kits with a precise set of instructions. And of course, every single kart ends up exactly the same. Every one, that is, except Maya's. Maya is a dreamy artist, and she would rather sketch birds in her backyard than get caught up in the competition. When she finally does start working, she uses the parts in the go-kart box but creates something completely different. No one ever said it had to be a go-kart. Maya's creative thinking inspires Rafael, her neighbor (and the most enthusiastic Going Places contestant), to ask to team up. The instructions never say they couldn't work together, either! An ode to creativity and individuality to be sure, but the Reynolds brothers are also taking a swipe at modern education: Endless repetition and following instructions without question create a culture of conformity. Hopefully now, readers will see infinite possibility every time the system hands them an identical go-kart box. Not astonishingly go-out-and-buy-it-at-graduation inspirational, but all it takes is one seed of change to be planted. (Picture book. 4-8)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—When Rafael gets his contest kit to build a go-cart, he is thrilled. He loves to follow instructions, and he wants to win the big race. When he teams up with his neighbor Maya, they start to think outside the box, way outside. By combining Rafael's perfectly made-by-the-directions go-cart with Maya's bird-inspired design, they end up with an airplane. Before they can even respond to the ribbing of their classmates, the race has begun. After a slow start, their entry soars above the traditional go-carts and sails to the finish line, coming in first. The story and illustrations perfectly complement each other. The text captures the discovery of new ideas, teamwork, and the joys of creating. The art brings them all to life with detailed, cartoon digital pictures that show great facial expressions, the fun of building, and the action of the race while leaving plenty of white space so as not to overwhelm. A fun story that will get kids thinking (maybe even outside the box).—Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442466081
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 3/18/2014
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 65,608
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 480L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul A. Reynolds is CEO of Fablevision Studios, where he oversees creative strategy on all major initiatives, as well as overseeing the many teams who execute on that vision. He also teaches digital media production at Boston College, where he has been inspiring students for nearly two decades to use media, storytelling, and technology to tell “stories that matter, stories that move.” He lives with his family in Dedham, Massachusetts, where they run a book and toy shop called the Blue Bunny.

Peter H. Reynolds is the bestselling author and illustrator of I’m Here, The Dot, and Ish; and illustrator for the New York Times #1 bestseller Someday by Alison McGhee. He is also the illustrator of Going Places, Little Boy, Charlie and Kiwi, and the Judy Moody series. He lives in Dedham, Massachusetts, where he is co-owner of the Blue Bunny bookstore. Visit Peter at PeterHReynolds.com.

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