- The Tweedles Go Electric by Monica Kulling
It’s 1903 and Mr. Tweedle has decided to roll with the times, purchasing a brand new automobile for his bicycle-riding family. But a noisy, gasoline-powered contraption doesn’t suit this freethinking crew; instead, they roll through town in their electric car, excitedly proclaiming its virtues (“It’s green!”; “It’s smart!”) to their fellow motorists. At least, Papa, Mama, and eight-year-old Frankie do, though twelve-year-old Frances barely glances from her books to acknowledge the car “with an electric heart.” When an emergency forces her into the driver’s seat, quite literally, Frances finds that not only can she operate the car, but she loves doing so—and doesn’t even get a nosebleed speeding along at ten miles per hour. This charming portrayal of the eccentric, unselfconscious Tweedles winks at its audience through both its sly text and playful pictures, where Lafrance’s graphite and mixed-media drawings in a fitting palette of greens and yellows capture the family’s quaint but rapidly expanding world. The characters’ expressive features and body language, coupled with the authentic-feeling language and dialogue, make this perfect for a classroom readaloud, where the Tweedles can demonstrate not only the merits of environmental stewardship but also the beauty of daring to be different.