by David Goldin

David Goldin's Go-Go-Go!

Children's books review by P.J. Rooks

Kids ages 3+ would enjoy this book. Kids over 8 could probably read it on their own.

Surrender, thy name is… not Maurice.

Thanks to author, illustrator and cyclist, David Goldin, self-defeat now has a voice and its name is Stinky.

Stinky is insolent and green, bantam and mean, and, though metaphorically familiar to most adults, he's very real in this fantastic story of dogged (not to mention frogged, elephanted, and turtled) determination.

Stinky will race alongside Maurice, who is excited for the big day. He knows this will be the year he wins the gold cup -- just knows it -- but then again, maybe not. After all, he has to contend with the loudmouthed Stinky.

We all have a Stinky in our lives -- he's that lurking inner snarl that tells us that, whatever it is, we can't do it. He is our skewed vision of how much easier it is for everybody else thanks to some privileged trait, charm, money or equipment that we, of course, do not have. Naahh! Winners aren't born of hard work -- are they?

"Hey Maurice, hope you're ready to lose on that old clunker!" Stinky shouts as Maurice arrives at the starting line.

And they're off!

"Go, go, go," cheers the crowd. Through the city and toward the zoo -- whoops! -- Maurice is juggling a turtle as he whizzes down the road. Past the zoo and toward the park -- oh my! -- an elephant on his back and a monkey on the handlebars! Past the park and… somebody get those helium balloons away from the monkey before the whole thing goes up -- too late! Over the park and pop, pop, pop -- into the lake. Things are getting challenging here. Hold your breath, Maurice!

From the sandy bottom of the lake, Maurice pedals, he pumps, he will not give up. "Look at the wet noodle!" shouts Stinky as Maurice finally makes it back out into light of day. "He doesn't stand a chance." Away from the lake and past the marching band -- look out! -- add one sousaphone player to Maurice's balancing spectacle.

It's a little hard to ride a bike when you're carrying an elephant, a monkey, a turtle, a mixed drink, a frog, a hot-dog stand, and a sousaphone player, and being pestered by a bee and chased by a dog. In his wake, an outdoor café lies in ruin and Maurice's legs feel like lead, but he will NOT give up. Though the finish line is in sight, Maurice is in last place. Can he possibly win the gold cup?

You bet he can -- and Stinky can take his rightful place with the trash.

I hesitate to say this, but I'm going to anyway -- buy this book! Because kids are fickle with their faves and they move quickly from one reading juncture to the next, I'm a big fan of library books. David Goldin's Go-Go-Go! however, is one to have within arm's reach at a moment's notice.

The outstanding message, hilarious illustrations, and fun story will captivate your child and the next time you hear the words, "I can't" (either from yourself or your child), you'll know right where to go for help.

Read more of P.J.'s reviews.

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