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This thrill-a-minute story follows the adventures of the speedy Lightning McQueen, a rookie race car who is trying to find his way to a tie-breaking race in California. When his recklessness results in the accidental destruction of part of the roadway, he’s sentenced to stay in the small town of Radiator Springs until the street is fixed. Lightning initially reacts with his typical grumpiness, but the locals refuse to put up with his bad attitude. Eventually, Lightning finds unlikely friendship and love in the very community he was so reluctant to join, and winds up helping the town’s inhabitants regain the happiness they once enjoyed. Cars is chock-full of valuable lessons for young readers, including the importance of good manners, accountability, and loyalty.

Tie-in Activity: For a fun automotive craft, help your child make his own personalized license plate. Start with a rectangular foam sheet, decorating it with adhesive letters, numbers, stickers, and glitter. Glue on a foam frame as the final finishing touch.