Cover image for How about going for a ride?
How about going for a ride?
Gammell, Stephen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Diego : Silver Whistle/Harcourt, 2001.
Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 23 x 29 cm
A brother and sister continually argue during the family's Sunday drive.
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Little Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



Anyone who has ever taken a trip in the family car knows about backseat battles, but has there ever been a boundary war like this one? Road warriors of all ages will see themselves in this riotous picture book by Stephen Gammell

Author Notes

Stephen Gammell is the winner of the Caldecott Medal for his drawings in Song and Dance Man by Karen Ackerman. His art in Where the Buffaloes Begin by Olaf Baker earned him a Caldecott Honor award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, and a New York Times Best Illustrated Books award.

Other books he has illustrated include Will's Mammoth by Rafe Martin, andDancing Teepees: Poems of American Indian Youth by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 3^-6. Gammell loves a good fight. This one takes place between sister and brother in the backseat of the car. In front are bossy Mom and submissive Dad. In the back the kids scowl and struggle for space and power: "Hey, your foot is over!" "Well, you're touching!" Then come the silent seething insults and the fantasies of escalating battles. Gammell's wild, splattered double-page pictures in watercolor, pastels, and pencil show the furious kids throwing furniture, and dumping each other in garbage. Events become cosmic: he blasts her into space; she returns to blast him in a tornado, "from your sister the twister." They fight as Vikings and as huge dinosaurs (in sneakers). When cheery Mom hands them lunch, they're scowling from opposite corners of the backseat, but the battle isn't over. As with William Steig's Grown-ups Get to Do All the Driving (1995), kids will recognize the anger and frustration, and they will laugh, not only with one another, but also with the adults who make the decisions and trap the kids together. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Readers follow a decidedly bumpy road as they enter Gammell's (Twigboy; Monster Mama) picture book about siblings' backseat bickering. Out for a Sunday drive, in a time well before SUVs and seatbelt laws, a family heads for the open road brother and sister in back, Mom and Dad in front. From the first shout of "Hey your foot is over!" the two kids begin a round of insult-hurling: " `Well you're a poopy face!' `Well you have booger breath!!' " The fight soon devolves into active skirmishing, then leaps into fantasy, with the children throwing bedroom furniture, then continuing their feud in outer space and, eventually, as a pair of dinosaurs. Finally, their good-natured mother offers snacks to calm them down. A closing scene depicting errant squirts of jam implies that the tussling is far from over. Gammell's distinctive pastel-pencil-watercolor compositions are a just-barely-contained cyclone of color and energy. His deployment of a rainbow palette, with occasional splatters, sometimes suggests a Spin-art machine. But his characters' faces, ranging from devilish to lightheartedly unaware, shine, as do his interpretations of the dinosaurs, a bug and a garbage truck. In balance, however, the nasty tone and unpleasant language of the text obscure much of the natural humor. Ages 3-7. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-When clueless parents suggest a car ride, defiant siblings grudgingly go along, but climb in the backseat and stake out their territories. What follows is signature Gammell: green-faced, scraggly-haired children in a raw, uncivilized state, rendered with pastels, pencils, and watercolors. The text is hand lettered. This brother and sister start fighting about minor annoyances: "Well you're a poopy face." "Well you have booger breath." The arguments quickly escalate until their bodies are no longer confined to the frame of the backseat, and they are being propelled off the page. They're contentious Vikings one moment, incensed garbage collectors the next. They are about to render one another's dinosaur personas extinct, when Mom offers sandwiches from the picnic basket. As the strategically squirting jelly hits its mark, the final page reads: "The end?" Purchase for Gammell devotees or those who like in-your-face conflict. For readers who prefer a more subtle approach, James Stevenson's Are We Almost There? (Greenwillow, 1985; o.p.) remains a delight.-Wendy Lukehart, Harrisburg School District, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.