The Yellow Cab

Overview

Jack, the little yellow taxi, used to be the fastest, brightest taxi around and traveled the city as if he had wings. If only he could fly. But something magical happens when Jack sees a bus that says, “Come to Brazil.” Before Jack knows it, he’s flying over the Brazilian rainforest and his new customers are macaws and howler monkeys! Jack couldn’t be happier, playing pass-the-coconut. But their fun comes to a halt when big bulldozers and cranky cranes start chopping down the rainforest. Why don’t you come back ...

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Overview

Jack, the little yellow taxi, used to be the fastest, brightest taxi around and traveled the city as if he had wings. If only he could fly. But something magical happens when Jack sees a bus that says, “Come to Brazil.” Before Jack knows it, he’s flying over the Brazilian rainforest and his new customers are macaws and howler monkeys! Jack couldn’t be happier, playing pass-the-coconut. But their fun comes to a halt when big bulldozers and cranky cranes start chopping down the rainforest. Why don’t you come back to the city and leave the forest alone? With a blink of an eye, Jack is back in the city. Could those be the same bulldozers he saw in the rainforest? Jack isn’t sure until he spies a coconut on the park bench and smiles to himself…anything is still possible.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Pfister takes readers from the heart of the city to the middle of the rain forest in a story with a hazy environmental message. Jack, an aging and lightly anthropomorphic city taxi, is intrigued by a poster promoting the Brazilian rain forest. Exhilarated at the prospect of a visit to paradise, Jack leaves town via a bridge that suddenly ends, and he plummets downward until “the yellow cab opened his doors like wings,” and he glides into the rain forest. Jack cavorts with monkeys until construction vehicles appear and frighten the animals away. He’s appalled when he sees how these machines (which he views as “sort of distant relatives”) are flattening the forest, and he convinces them to follow him back to the city where there are streets, schools, and playgrounds to be built. The vegetal textures of Pfister’s artwork (similar to his illustrations in Ava’s Poppy) do justice to both the tropical and urban settings, but the “Was it all just a dream?” ending (after reawakening in traffic, Jack runs into the same construction vehicles he found in the rain forest) falls flat. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Debra Lampert-Rudman
What do old yellow cabs dream about? A trip to Brazil and saving the rain forest, of course! In Marcus Pfister's (Rainbow Fish) latest picture book, Jack is an aging, yellow, big-city cab (he still has a black-and-white checkerboard pattern on his sides and white-wall tires) lured by the sight of a "Come to Brazil" billboard on a bus in front of him to magically fly off to Brazil. The bridge he is crossing suddenly gives way to a precipice (a glossary term that is not explained) and out of the blue Jack's flying in dreamlike surroundings—his doors have become wings and he is flying with colorful parrots. The yellow cab becomes the court for a howler monkey coconut-ball game, and a cool chameleon even turns yellow with black-and-white checkerboard when he is near. When his new friends abruptly scatter from the noises of construction work in the forest, Jack confronts his fellow yellow machines by shouting "listen up, you yellow giants;" and invites them to follow him back to the city where they "need lots of construction." When Jack is back in the city the reader can decide whether or not it was a dream; or did Jack really travel to the rainforest? The colorfully textured green endpapers includes four questions and answers about rainforests as well as three ways to help the environment in the home. Charming illustrations; first published in Switzerland as Jack im Regenwald. Reviewer: Debra Lampert-Rudman
School Library Journal
K-Gr 1—Once the fastest little yellow taxi in town, Jack, who now has older, slower wheels, is sent airborne as he literally flies off a city bridge in response to a travel poster-"Come to Brazil!"-landing in a tropical forest surrounded by colorful parrots and howler monkeys. Jack is a fun-loving, coconut-ball player and immediately hits it off with his newfound simian friends. A chameleon playfully imitates the cab with his own checkered and yellow form, but powerful giant excavators frighten the animals and dwarf Jack, hiding in the deep blues and greens of the rainforest. Pfister's watery, painted impression of the trees and brightly blocked contrasting yellows of the construction behemoths direct readers' eyes from cityscape to forest-and back again-as Jack suggests a city cab's alternative to "tearing up the forest." While support for the environment comes across loud and clear, images of Jack's digging-equipment acquaintances lack the personality or warmth of his tropical animal friends. An additional purchase.—Mary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano ISD, TX
Kirkus Reviews
A taxicab on an everyday run suddenly finds himself in the middle of the rain forest, where it is up to him to save the ecosystem from destruction. Jack used to be the fastest, most admired taxi in the city. But his wheels are turning a bit slower these days. Mesmerized by an advertisement for Brazil, Jack suddenly drops off the edge of a bridge and lands smack-dab in the rain forest. A host of critters come out to greet him: monkeys, parrots, even a chameleon--which, of course, immediately turns checkered and yellow. Jack's fun with the animals is cut short by three large excavators tearing a path through the forest. Jack commands them to stop and suggests that they follow him back to the city, where there are lots of construction sites. Magically, they are all transported back, where Jack believes it was all a dream. Or was it? Possibly due to a stilted translation, there is not much tension in the text. The environmental message falls flat due to the story's arbitrary nature and bizarre ease with which Jack diverts the excavators. Luckily, the illustrations give added warmth. Pfister's stamping technique (debuted in Questions, Questions, 2011) fills the fronds with texture and gives the monkeys an irrepressible fuzziness. Taxi-loving readers will be happy since the tiny, yellow car is the hero, but it is a title a little too easily won. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780735841116
  • Publisher: North-South Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/1/2013
  • Edition description: Translatio
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,033,607
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Marcus Pfister is the author of the phenomenally successful Rainbow Fish series, as well as many other books for children. He has worked as a graphic artist, a sculptor, a painter, and a photographer as well as a children's book creator. Pfister lives with his family in Berne, Switzerland.

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