The No. 1 Car Spotter and the Firebird

by Atinuke and Warwick Johnson Cadwell

Another fresh, funny chapter book for newly independent readers from author Atinuke... read more

Another fresh, funny chapter book for newly independent readers from author Atinuke returns to the African village of Oluwalase Babatunde Benson, a.k.a. the No. 1 Car Spotter. His nickname comes from his ability to identify any make and model of car, often by the sound of the engine alone. But it’s his skill as a thinker and problem solver that really make this boy stand out. He may not be very good with a slingshot like his sister and other children in the village, but that doesn’t mean he can’t protect the family’s goats with a little ingenuity—and hot chili pepper soup. (What would be the point of everyone being good at the same thing? his grandfather consoles when No. 1 proves yet again he can’t shoot a stone.) And when Mama Coca-Cola’s new concrete-block house almost becomes her ruin, No. 1 comes up with the perfect solution, one that saves the small business she was too tired to maintain after trying to keep a house with corners clean by day and sweltering under its hot tin roof at night. Atinuke creates warm, distinctive characters and a strong sense of community, as well as plot and setting, with a minimum of words and an abundance of humor. The story is set in an unnamed but specific African country. (Ages 6–9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013

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