The Silver Serpent Cup

Fast and Furry Racers – The Silver Serpent Cup

Oxford University Press. First Published 2015

Jonathan Emmett and Ed Eaves

ISBN: 978-0-19-273862-2

“Today the town of Furryville’s a very noisy place, crammed with crowds of creatures getting ready for a race. The air is filled with honking horns and engines revving up, as racers take their places for the Silver Serpent Cup.”

And so begins a high-octane, adrenaline-fuelled romp of a rhyming book as animals of all shapes and sizes take their places in an assortment of vehicles eager to race 1,000 miles to the town of Featherport to claim the winner’s prize.

The plot is simple but engaging and reminiscent of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series ‘Wacky Races.’

Ed Eaves’s illustrations are superb. They are bright, bold and leap out the page for 3-5 year-olds, eagerly studying each animal and the vehicles they are driving – many of which are reflective of the characters’ personalities.

The rhyme is pacy and whizzes along with the thrilling illustrations as creatures take to the roads, sky and underwater in their bid to clinch the cup.

Author Emmett’s character names raise a smile with racers including Ollie Octolinni (octopus), Ella Egghart (eagle) and Roderick Von Rooster (rooster) driving his Hot Rod rocket car.

No picture book would be complete without a problem of sorts and when Ella Egghart’s aeroplane looks like it will win, disaster strikes in the shape of cheating crocodile Al McNasty.

He launches his missiles from his underwater armoured aqua-car, bringing down Ella and her close rivals who parachute to safety but not glory.

“This ruthless, rotten reptile has a smug look on his face. With all the other vehicles gone, he’s bound to take first place.”

Of course, picture books can’t let cheaters prosper so when awful Al McNasty has his sights on victory, dark horse Max O’Moley trumps him by erupting out of the ground in his tunnelling machine to take first place.

“Max comes up through the finish line to thunderous applause, and swiftly snatches victory from Al’s astonished jaws. Of all the ways to win the race, Al’s had to be the worst, so everyone’s delighted that Max has come in first!”

At 515 words, “Fast and Furry Racers” is a riot of colour and rhyming exuberance, guaranteed to thrill. Definitely one to ‘pick up’.

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