move over Thomas, there’s a new licensed character in town

Thomas has been usurped. Or sideswiped rather. By Lightning McQueen.

No, he has NOT seen the movie. Yet.

It all sort of started with a gift from a cousin, three years ago. An LMcQ stuffie that zips open for storing your pajamas and has a button you can push so that Owen Wilson (or his impersonator – there is some debate on this in our house among the adults) can say, with overwhelming conviction, “I am FASTER than fast. I am Lightning McQueen.”

The stuffie did not get much attention, or any really, for two years. Until…

We received a set of Cars stickers in a friend’s birthday party gift bag, which led to internet research on their names, which led to Jonah and Scott watching short snippets of Cars videos online, which led to an art project, which led to this story (you may recall).

And we received a Cars puzzle as a gift – of LMcQ and his best friend Mater, though we still weren’t quite clear on their importance in the world, yet.

And then we visited Grandma Marcia in St. George, Utah. Grandma Marcia had bought a number of items in anticipation of our stay, including two terrycloth Cars bibs, one featuring LMcQ and one, featuring Guido and Luigi. We then checked out a Cars Little Golden Book from the library in St. George, which was disarmingly sweet (the book, I mean, but also the library itself, and the town actually, too).

We’re still trying to take this slow (apres moi, le deluge). So, thus far, he has seen a few more short videos – on the Pixar website, which were, I have to admit, ridiculously cute.

Full-length movie experience coming soon.

It isn’t (or is, depending on your point of view, hello Pixar marketing team!) helping that every bus shelter and most billboards in town are hawking Cars 2. Will that be Jonah’s first movie theater experience? Possibly.

For now, he still sleeps with decorated Thomas, but now also LMcQ, and for some reason (of all his hundred and one stuffed animals why this one – mah nishtanah halaila ha-stuffie?) a small tiger.

But when we do books and songs before he goes to bed, it’s LMcQ who sits in the chair and snuggles with us. Not the Little Blue Engine anymore.

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