Off to the Races! (Nintendo Mario Kart)

Random. (Step into Reading). Jul. 2023. 32p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9780593648230; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780593648223.
K-Gr 2–In this Mario Kart reader, Mario, Luigi, Toad, and friends prepare their karts for a big race. When Lakitu starts the race, Princess Roselina likes big wheels, Koopaling Iggy seeks a machine that bounces, and Waluigi selects a bicycle for tricks. Other vehicles swivel upside down, cruise through the skies, and move underwater. There are also obstacles, like banana peels, that slow them down and items, like mushroom clouds, that speed them up. While the race is competitive and all the friends want to win, the fun, sportsmanship, and experience are what matter most. In this level three reader, Foxe presents the idea that different characters prefer their own unique vehicles, and that fun for everyone is better than winning in the end. While such themes are essential, this reader lacks a genuine story with a beginning, middle, and end, as well as character development that gives a plot structure. Such additions, in turn, could work in tandem to underscore the positive themes. Nevertheless, the bright colors and cartoonlike illustrations will engage readers, especially those who prefer virtual worlds. The book also introduces some early reading concepts, such as prepositional phrases, that have the potential to facilitate reading development.
VERDICT A good selection for reluctant readers engaged by video games.

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