Parking Area 51 that is! 'Heavy Metal Mater & Other Tall Tales ' contains three short stories from the immensely popular 'Cars Toons - Mater's Tall Tales' series, including one which takes place in Parking Area 51. My sons ( ages 6 & 3) both love Cars Toons. In fact they prefer these animated shorts to the new Cars movie. Although our last collection of Cars stories was a complete flop, I was still considering this book. When my youngest walked in and saw me looking at this on Amazon, he immediately asked for "the book with Mater and the space ship". At £4.90 new, it isn't too dear so I went ahead and bought it.
Each story in this book begins with Mater telling about the time some exciting event happened. The stories are quite fantastic. Lightning Mc Queen always asks a question near the end of the story, at which point Mater reminds him he was there too, and quickly includes him in the tale. Of course Lightning doesn't remember things quite the way Mater does. The stories are very short. Most pages have only one or two sentences accompanied by a large high quality illustration. The text is a good size for adults, but perhaps just a bit small for new readers. It is also printed in white on a dark background at times, or on a patterned background, both of which are known to making reading more difficult for children with dyslexia, and as such, likely not the best choice for any new readers. I estimate that it takes about 3 minutes to read each story, so you can easily fit in the whole book before bedtime.
'Heavy Metal Mater' is the first story in this book this has Mater, looking much younger in a shiny light blue paint job, starting his own rock band. I can't say that I find this tale particularly exciting - or even really good - but both boys like it so I won't complain. They especially like the when Mater appears on stage with what appear to be tattoos. I do think it is the weakest story in the book, although the Bat Out of Hell album cover was cute.
'UFM Unidentified Flying Mater' is by far the boys favourite story. Mater meets a very cute UFO, who happens to be named Mator, and even looks a bit like Mater with a big grin and two buck teeth. Mater and his new pal are having a brilliant time - and at last we learn the true meaning of crop circles, when the US Military swoops in to spoil all the fun. Mater has to infiltrate the infamous Area 51 to rescue his new found friend. My sons both enjoy this story and we often have to read this one twice. I have to say the whole story is quite cute - especially the little UFO and of course his Mother (ship).
'Tokyo Mater' begins when Mater gets an exceptionally long tow job - all the way to Japan. Once again Mater trades in his rusty patina for a coat of shiny blue paint to race Kabuto, a famous race car. But it is good thing Lightning McQueen is there to lend a hand the Ninja cars attack. While I think this story was OK, but not anything really special, the boys disagree with me on this, and it is of course their opinion that counts. While not quite as popular as the UFO story, it is still a favourite, especially with my 3 year old.
I can not give this book anything less than 5 stars with the boys enjoying it as much as they do. Of course my oldest doesn't get quite as much from this as his younger brother, but he does still enjoy it. As an added plus, he can read it himself, with a bit of help for the odd word like "Kabuto". I'm not sure if this would have been worth buying for him though, as he is starting to move more and more into chapter books. Still, it does make a nice book for independent reading, but I couldn't see a much older child getting much use of this, so I am putting 6 at the top of my age range. On the other hand, the short stories and colourrful pictures make this well suited to very young children. I am recommending this book for ages 2 -6, but I think it many young Cars fans might enjoy this a bit before their 2nd birthday. I could see the UFO story appealing from as young as 1 year old with the right sound effects.
Mater is up to his old tricks again, with three new tall tales in one fantastic hardcover storybook for boys ages 3 to 7! Mater tells Lightning McQueen how he started a heavy metal band, became a hot-rod racer in Tokyo, and had a close encounter with a UFO! This follow-up to Mater's Tall Tales is a must-have for all fans of DisneyPixar's Cars and Cars Toons.