John Burningham, who has brought us so many memorable picture-book characters since Borka the goose with no feathers arrived in 1963, now introduces Miles, who is a very difficult dog.
Characteristically for Burningham - and this is an important lesson for children - misbehaviour does not mean forfeiting affection.
Instead, Alice Trudge and her son Norman, who own Miles, find what he really likes to do, which is to go out in the car. Taking him daily is time-consuming, so a neighbour builds him his own car and Miles learns to drive. He takes Norman to school, and the two have joyous secret outings. With his wavering, fragmented line and beautiful washes of colour, Burningham expresses character and comedy, and depicts landscapes through the seasons that are magical and seductive.
Everything about this picture book suggests freedom, in the style and the story. The tale is simple but encompasses kindness to animals, neighbourliness, the advantages of being practical and handy, the rewards of diligently learning a skill, a love of the outdoors, the pleasure of companionship, following your own inclinations and knowing left from right. There is a fun punchline too. The book might look sketchy, but it is just right.
-- Nicolette Jones * Sunday Times *
October 2016 Book of the Month
There's a perfect simplicity to this book, the work of a picture book genius. Miles is a difficult dog, won't come when called, doesn't like walks or other dogs, barks too much. The only thing he does like, in fact, is going out in the car. Fortunately, the family's neighbour realises that what Miles needs is a car of his own, and offers to make him one. John Burningham's illustrations, simultaneously comic and serious, match his deadpan text beautifully; Miles and his young owner Norman are wonderfully realised characters; the colours glow: quite simply wonderful.
-- Andrea Reece, Lovereading4Kids * http://www.lovereading4kids.co.uk/book/13204/Motor-Miles-by-John-Burningham.html *