Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Garth Stein
Illustrator: R. W. Alley
In a reversal of roles, Zoë and Denny race while Enzo, the dog, tries to keep up. At the racetrack on Fourth of July weekend, a peer taunts Zoë for signing up for the Kids Kart Race. Intimidated, Zoë scratches her name off the list. Meanwhile, her dad, Denny Swift, has trouble concentrating on his own racing out of worry for Zoë’s choice. Later, Denny and Zoë work together to inspect the corners of the track and find places they can speed up or brake differently. As Zoë and Denny practice and become more confident, Enzo runs back and forth to cheer them on. Their effort pays off as both take the checkered flag in their races!
The fourth tale in the Enzo series for primary-grade readers, this book tops the rest with its solid plot and character development. While it is the most complex episode yet, with both Zoë and her dad encountering challenges, readers learn a powerful lesson that they can face their fears with teamwork and creative solutions. Cheerful illustrations also further the plot by filling in the timeline between written events. The glossary of racing terms is a bonus, helping readers learn about the world of race car driving. Although Enzo is the storyteller, he takes a backseat to his owners in this adventure—which may be a good way to continue the series.