Monday, July 27, 2015

Early Review ~ Born to Run: The Story of Johnny 99 by Wendy Parnell (Illustrated by Matt Hall)

Johnny 99 has been caught racing in the street─again. Now he’s in trouble with his dad─again. Wanting to assert his independence and in hopes of finding adventure, Johnny 99 leaves his hometown to travel across the country. He returns home a changed car. 

Knowledge of Bruce Springsteen’s music is not a requirement for the enjoyment of this book. The book's themes of independence, adventure, redemption, love and family are largely universal and will appeal to a diverse audience: from the elementary school set to the high school or college graduate who may find him or herself identifying with the book's protagonist, on up to any age reader. This is a picture book for all ages. 

However, with almost one hundred references to Bruce Springsteen and his music, this book is a fun I Spy with its compendium of song titles, album titles and trivia for the readers to find and a great gift for any Springsteen fan.

Book Details:

File Size: 4868 KB
Publisher: Rocket Star Press (August 25, 2015)
Publication Date: August 25, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
Amazon Purchase Link:  Born to Run: The Story of Johnny 99

My Review:

In conjunction with the upcoming 40th anniversary of the epic release of Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen comes a short picture book inspired by his music.  Johnny 99 is a race car that's been busted again for street racing.  In his quest for independence, Johnny travels across the United States looking for adventure.  When he finally returns home to his family, he's an altogether different vehicle.

This is an easy to read book that children will love.  They won't get the musical references but the illustrations are bright and vibrant and the story has depth and meaning.  Any child that loves cars will find great joy in this book.  Parents, grandparents, babysitters, and more will have a fun time reading this to small children.  I wouldn't be a bit surprised if lovers of The Boss start belting out the songs that are quickly referenced in the picture book.

Paperback review copy courtesy of the publisher, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My Rating:

About the Author:

Wendy created this Springsteen-inspired picture book to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Born to Run album. The book, titled Born to Run: The Story of Johnny 99, launches on the very day of the anniversary, August 25th. Parnell is a self-published author and a devoted, single mother who has has created a special genre of picture books that are for the reader and the music lover of all ages. 

Her books are written for music fans and grown-ups but are also written so that children and those unfamiliar with the music references within the book can enjoy them. More specifically, her books are “books with heart and books with soul, books inspired by rock ’n roll”. You can see her other books online at For her latest book she worked with Matt Hall, a talented illustrator who has worked in the entertainment industry since 1996 on projects for organizations such as DreamWorks, Disney and Warner Brothers. 

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