In Cadi’s Weekend Adventure, Brenda Lynette Howard offers a cautionary tale about the dangers of using drugs and stealing cars in the form of a script featuring lines of dialogue for humans and later for cars abandoned in a junkyard. The illustrated, 8.5-inch by 8.5-inch, 54-page volume appears at first glance to be a picture book rather than a drama suited for teens.
The title suggests that the book centers on the adventures of a Cadi (Cadillac), but the drama actually focuses on the theft and then abandonment of this vehicle. The book’s first half generally recounts the activities of the trouble-bound teens who steal the car. Once Cadi is abandoned, dialogue involves Cadi and other vehicles in the junkyard, who express fears of being crushed for scrap; experience flashbacks about the accidents they were in; and even, at one point, wipe away a tear with a windshield wiper.
The book has some positive aspects: The teens’ lively dialogue rings true as they plunge into illegal behavior. And illustrator Sammy D. Howard deserves credit for his skillful portraits of individuals of different ethnic backgrounds. They surpass his competent but less impressive larger scenes.
But the book is hampered greatly by its format, which is at odds with its audience. “My goal for this book is to teach kids not to follow the wrong crowds that will lead them down the path of drugs and stealing,” the author notes on the back cover. Unfortunately, creating a drama featuring human and automotive characters is a risky way to attract teens, and the childlike picture book-format is a further deterrent.
The text also needs some copyediting, mostly for punctuation. And the author often uses stage directions to advance the plot and describe emotional developments, instead of providing directions for actors.
In sum, while the author’s intentions are commendable, the book’s concept and some aspects of its execution present an impediment to her work finding an audience.
Also available as an ebook.