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Lyons Den Books

Roy Makes a Car

(New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2005. ISBN: 0-689-84640-1)

Down in Eatonville, Florida, there’s a man who can clean spark plugs just by looking at them hard, and who can grease an axle faster than you can say “carburetor.” Folks round those parts claim Roy Tyle might just be the best mechanic in the world. But Roy, you know, he never can find an automobile made to suit him. He figures, if a car was built right, there wouldn’t be so many collisions out on the road. And so when Roy—that wonder-making man—says he’s going to make an accident-proof car, there’s no telling what he’ll cook up behind his double-locked doors. . .

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activity  FIND

Roy can clean spark plugs just by looking at them hard. After reading Roy Makes a Car, find a picture of a spark plug, a wrench, a battery, and a screwdriver.

activity  DRAW

At the end of Roy Makes a Car, Roy is inventing another fantastical machine. What do you think Roy is making in his garage? Draw a picture and explain how it would work.

activity  PLAY

Make a car and a truck with empty thread spools or Sculpey Clay™.

Roy’s fabulous automobile can go around, over, and under cars and trucks. Use your homemade car and truck to show the action in the book. Don’t forget to add engine sounds.

Turn your sofa into a truck. Load one end with everything you want to move, sit facing the other end, and step on the gas! (Thanks to Jamey Lyons and Shelly Lyons for this idea.)

activity  SING

Change the word bus to car and sing “The Wheels on the Bus.” For lyrics and a midi file that plays the notes, visit

activity  DISCOVER

Find the picture that shows Roy welding metal flaps together. Hint: look for a blow torch, a tank of gas, and a face shield.

What’s another word for welding? To find the answer, look up welding in a dictionary.

 Zora Neale Hurston returned to her home town of Eatonville, Florida, in 1938. During her stay, she heard the story of Roy Tyle, the mechanic who could fix anything. Point to Florida on the map of the United States (below). Hint: look for the state that’s shaped like a thumb.