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July 2013

Tommy Saal's ABC of Auto Racing History
'Book A' For Little Boys & Girls and 'Book B' For Big Boys & Girls

Book review by Robert McLellan

Author: Thomas F. Saal, 2012. 90 color and black and white photographs and illustrations, 90 pages, hard bound, both books as one in a flip-over format, $25.00. Published and sold by Racemaker Press, www.racemaker.com


In my youth, just after World War II, I was preoccupied with fishing, baseball and cars. Today's kids spend their time on their cell phones, iPods and television. Cars are for going to the mall, to school and to see their friends. Antique and historic race cars are of little interest to most of them even if their dad has one. Unless we generate interest, our cars will end up in museums. Tom Saal would like to share his lifetime love for historic auto racing with today's youths.

This is not the Golden Books of my past but a modern approach in which to attract the interest of young, curious minds. I found it entertaining, humorous and informative and it should be a formula for success. Tom is full of surprises and the book veers off in unexpected directions in an approach to keep the readers' attention. I assume in this world of short attention spans, this is of critical importance. In the juvenile "A" through "Z" section, you will find levity in "U is for Upset, How You Feel When Inverted" with a cartoon of a car upside down and "X is for Zerex, When Spelled In Reverse", also with a cartoon of a stock car advertising ZEREX. Tom did the cartoons himself and they are exceptionally good.

'Book A'
For Little Boys & Girls

Click for larger view
'Book B'
For Big Boys & Girls

Click for larger view

The Book B For Big Boys & Girls section is for the more mature reader and expands on the topics in the Book A For Little Boys & Girls section. Not satisfied to relate common racing knowledge, the author dwells on subjects that are unique and will be fresh to even the most well read racing enthusiast. This approach captures the interest of the adult buyer of the book who will become enthralled with the content and photographs, so the purchaser will then promote the book to youthful readers. I am betting a lot of adult racing enthusiasts will read the book from front to back before placing it in the hands of the intended reader.

Having not opened a children's book in half a century, I will be interested to see how this book is received by children and teenagers. It is packed with information with no wasted sentences and is not for speed reading. When I read issues of Road & Track as a teenager in the 1950s, I hung on to every word and studied every picture to digest as much automotive and racing knowledge as I could, because I found it fascinating. That appears to be Tom Saal's goal and I think his approach will succeed. If you want to pass your auto racing enthusiasm down to your kids and grandchildren, I recommend that your pass this book on to them.



Auto Maniacs Newsletter, July 2013



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Auto Maniacs — 2013