Roy Makes a Car

Roy Makes a Car

by Mary E. Lyons, Terry Widener
     
 

"If Roy Can't Fix It,
Nobody Can"
Down in Eatonville, Florida, there's a man who can clean spark plugs just by looking at them hard, and who can grease an axle faster than you can say "carburetor." Folks round those parts claim Roy Tyle might just be the best mechanic in the world. But Roy, you know, he never can find an automobile made to suit him. He

See more details below

  • Checkmark Kids' Club Eligible  Shop Now

Overview

"If Roy Can't Fix It,
Nobody Can"
Down in Eatonville, Florida, there's a man who can clean spark plugs just by looking at them hard, and who can grease an axle faster than you can say "carburetor." Folks round those parts claim Roy Tyle might just be the best mechanic in the world. But Roy, you know, he never can find an automobile made to suit him. He figures, if a car was built right, there wouldn't be so many collisions out on the road. And so when Roy — that wonder-making man — says he's going to make an accident-proof car, there's no telling what he'll cook up behind his double-locked doors....
Based on a tall tale collected by legendary African-American writer Zora Neale Hurston, Mary E. Lyons's souped-up story is perfectly complemented by Terry Widener's bold, dramatic illustrations.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lyons (Feed the Children First) and Widener (Girl Wonder) turbocharge a folktale originally collected by Zora Neale Hurston as part of the 1930s Federal Writers' Project (as stated in an author's note). Adding a heavy dose of southern dialect, Lyons recounts the tale of a mechanic in Eatonville, Fl., with brisk pacing and plenty of colloquialisms. "People from those parts think Roy Tyle is the best mechanic in the state.... Why, he can grease an axle faster than you can say `carburetor,' and he can clean spark plugs just by looking at them hard." When Roy produces-in only an hour-an "accident-proof car," a gambling man bets against him, trying to instigate fender-benders involving Roy's "stabilated, lubricated, banjo-axled, wing-fendered, low-compression, noncollision car." Widener's acrylics take up the playful exaggeration of the text, depicting scenes of the jet-black, 1930s-styled wonder auto rising up and over (or sliding, low-slung, underneath) the challengers' vehicles. The wide-eyed faces and exaggerated features of the townsfolk add a comic edge and emphasize the hyperbolic tone. After selling a flying car to God, Roy continues puttering in his workshop, leaving readers to wonder what he's up to next. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
"Roy Tyle runs the garage down near Eatonville, Florida," hometown of Zora Neale Hurston and source of much of the folklore she gathered for books like Palmetto Country. Mary Lyons, who has also written a biography of Hurston called Sorrow's Kitchen, "souped-up" Hurston's two-paragraph story about Roy to give readers a "turbocharged, floating-ride, stabilated, lubricated, banjo-axled, wing-fendered, low-compression, noncollision car." The story is written as if it were being told by a favorite uncle to an admiring audience, so it is a perfect read-aloud: "Why, (Roy) can grease an axle faster than you can say 'carburetor' and he can clean spark plugs just by looking at them hard." And right there filling almost half a page is that spark plug. Terry Widener's large, bold illustrations have an art-deco style that recalls the period of Hurston's actual writing. The story is perfect to launch a discussion of tall tales and using imagination to build a story that leaves the reader wanting to know more. "T'aint no telling what (Roy'll) try next." 2005, Simon & Schuster, Ages 4 to 8.
—Karen Leggett
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-During the 1930s, Zora Neale Hurston collected stories for the Florida Federal Writers' Project, including a two-paragraph tale about a mechanic with amazing skill. Lyons has taken that version and, with the ease of a seasoned storyteller, spun a longer yarn. Roy Tyle's abilities are widely known. "Why, he can grease an axle faster than you can say `carburetor....'" When he claims that he can make an accident-proof automobile, a gambler challenges him. When the car does everything that Roy promised, the gambler pays up, and Roy sells the machine for a bundle. When he builds a model with winged flaps that he flies "way up in the sky," God spies him and buys it on the spot. "'Tain't no telling what he'll try next." Widener's acrylic paintings are as strong and monumental as the tall tale and reminiscent of Thomas Hart Benton's work. Dramatic angles and points of view enhance the excitement of the story. In the opening illustration, readers look into Roy's eye, which is giving a hard look at the spark plug in the foreground. The drama continues as the artist contrasts brilliant outside colors with the dark, mysterious interior of Roy's garage. Dumbfounded facial expressions reflect the story's straight-faced humor. Children will have anything but straight faces when they read or hear this tale. Southern storytelling at its best.-Carolyn Janssen, Children's Learning Center of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lyons wheels out a terrific new tall-tale character in a Florida yarn based on a fragment collected by Zora Neale Hurston. Disturbed by the number of collisions around the town of Eatonville, which lies "somewhere west of Christmas and north of Boogy's Corner," legendary auto mechanic Roy Tyle builds a car that can sail over a tall Chevy sedan, under a low-slung Buick, and around anything else on the road. Not content with that, though, he welds golden wings onto his next "Roy-mobile" and flies it up past heaven's bleachers so right smart that God buys it for His angels. Widener fills his Depression-era scenes with sleek roadsters and dark-skinned, strongly molded faces in rolling, Thomas Hart Benton-style settings, then closes with a small cameo of Hurston over a tantalizing account of her career as a folklorist. Roy's working on a new project now; Lyons invites readers to take a peek, warning, "But don't stand too close! That Roy Tyle is a wonder-making man. 'Tain't no telling what he'll try next." (source note) (Picture book/folktale. 7-9)

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689846403
Publisher:
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
01/06/2005
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.44(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.41(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >