My Side of the Car is the third collaboration between Jules Feiffer, writer and illustrator (A Barrel of Laughs: A Vale of Tears and A Room with a Zoo) and his daughter, author Kate Feiffer and my favorite.
Sadie and her Dad are finally going to the zoo. One trip was postponed by a twisted ankle after mom tripped over a toy fire engine. The next attempt was thwarted by a lost dog. Another was postponed when her grandparents showed up for a visit and did not want to go to the zoo.
Finally, the big day has arrived and not even an escaped tiger is going to stop Sadie and her dad. Not even rain. Especially when it seems that it is only raining on her dad's side of the car...
A bonus in the back of the book is the transcript of a conversation between Jules and Kate in which they discuss the real-life event that inspired My Side of the Car. Apparently Kate, as a child and adult, is just as insistent as Sadie and Dad keeps driving even though the rain is getting heavier. Finally, they get to the zoo and Sadie gets out of the car and has to admit that it is raining and perhaps they should come back on another day. The bright side is, as they turn out of the parking lot and drive over a big hill, the rain stops and Dad and Sadie get their day at the zoo!
The book trailer for My Side of the Car is worth the watch. Real life and illustrations overlap while Jules and Kate Feiffer narrate and relive their argument.
For those of you who are Jules Feiffer enthusiasts like me, seek out his picture book By the Side of the Road. Written in 2002 and now out of print, it tells the story of a family road trip that results in Dad actually following through on the timeless threat to "pull over and leave you by the side of the road." In a true expression of kid power, Richard decides to make his home by the side of the road and refuses to leave with his parents when they come back for him. How he survives and how his mother, father and brother treat him afterwards is a fascinating psychological study and a great story as well.