Great Illustrated Books

Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride

By Kate Dicamillo

Candlewick, 2006
Pages : 80
Suggested Ages: 4-8
ISBN: 9780763623326

Maybe you got to know Mercy, that free-spirited porcine wonder, in her first easy chapter book, Mercy Watson to the Rescue, which describes what happened the night Mr. and Mrs. Watson's bed broke and Mercy ran off to find some sugar cookies and inadvertently saved the day. Kate DiCamillo is redefining the easy reader genre with her wildly slapstick but deadpan prose, made even funnier with Chris Van Dusen's retro style glossy illustrations, like a 1950s reading book run amok.

In this equally wacky sequel, Mercy and Mr. Watson are out for their usual Saturday afternoon drive in Mr. Watson's beautiful pink Cadillac convertible. Unbeknownst to thi, Baby Lincoln, their elderly next-door neighbor, has hidden herself in the back seat. (As she says when she pops up, "I am indulging in some folly.") At that moment, Mercy, that unrepentant and saucy pig, sees her chance. She leaps onto Mr. Watson's lap, and grabs the steering wheel in her front hooves. Officer Tomilello, seeing her behind the wheel, shouts into his bullhorn, "Pigs cannot drive cars. Pull over immediately." Luckily, Baby Lincoln's quick thinking saves the day. And, as always with a Mercy Watson book, in the final chapter, there is hot buttered toast for all, even for Officer Tomilello who says, "Laws have been broken. Tickets must be written."

Mr. Watson admonishes Mercy, " . . . porcine wonders should never be allowed to drive. Ever." Go over the rules of the road with your own too-young-to drive crew. Cut out steering wheels from heavystock paper (or use an old record, if you still have such a dinosaur) and take a practice ride around the house or down the block, stopping at red lights and stop signs, using signals and horns, and good road manners. Then stop off in the kitchen and cook up lots of hot buttered toast.

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Becker, Suzy. Manny's Cows: The Niagara Falls Tale. HarperCollins, 2006.

DiCamillo, Kate. Because of Winn-Dixie. Candlewick, 2000.

DiCamillo, Kate. Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken. HarperCollins/Joanna Cotler, 2008.

DiCamillo, Kate. Mercy Watson Fights Crime. Candlewick, 2006.

DiCamillo, Kate. Mercy Watson, Princess in Disguise. Candlewick, 2007.

DiCamillo, Kate. Mercy Watson to the Rescue. Candlewick, 2005.

DiCamillo, Kate. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Candlewick, 2006.

DiCamillo, Kate. The Tale of Despereaux. Candlewick, 2003.

Falconer, Ian. Olivia. Atheneum, 2000. (And others in the Olivia series.)

Fleming, Candace. Sunny Boy!: The Life and Times of a Tortoise. Farrar, 2005.

Pinkwater, Daniel. Tooth-Gnasher Superflash. Macmillan, 1990.

Root, Phyllis. Rattletrap Car. Candlewick, 2001.

Rylant, Cynthia. Poppleton. Scholastic, 1997. (And others in the Poppleton series.)

Shannon, David. Duck on a Bike. Scholastic, 2002.

Smith, Lane. The Happy Hocky Family! Viking, 1993.

Smith, Lane. The Happy Hocky Family Moves to the Country. Viking, 2003.

Stolz, Mary. Emmett's Pig. HarperCollins, 2004.

Critics have said

The glossy, full-color gouache paintings provide visual clues to support the text and add greatly to the humor. The characters' facial expressions are laugh-out-loud funny, and the idealized 1950s setting strikes just the right tone of innocence. A fresh, fun-filled must-have for those looking to spiff up beginning-chapter-book collections.
Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
Van Dusen's larger-than-life characters and retro sensibility extend the dry humor of the situation, and his shiny, rainbow-bright gouache art shoots the energy, especially Mercy's, right off the page. Great for emergent readers.