LONGLISTED FOR THE NORTH SOMERSET TEACHERS' BOOK AWARD READ ALOUD CATEGORY
‘The disc of the moon glowed in the night sky. The silver pathway shimmered invitingly on the lake. Purdy sat on his bike outside the sky-blue house on the hill. Barker stood beside him, looking serious. “Well, here I go,” Purdy said.’
Translated from Finnish, this charming book is filled with short stories about a rather unlikely friendship. Perfect for dipping in and out, each story is stand alone and only a few pages long. This would make it an ideal book to share with children at the end of the school day. Each story has a strong moral thread: friendship, kindness, resilience, selfishness and creativity (to name but a few) and each one allows for plenty of discussion. The book in its entirety follows the seasons, with a lovely final story that sees Purdy and Barker at the same point of the year as the first chapter and once again ‘Bicycling to the Moon.’ Just like the seasons, the stories come full circle.
Purdy the cat and Barker the dog live together in a sky-blue house on top of a hill. Purdy and Barker could not be more different! Purdy is a little rash, often acting without thought, as well as being a little selfish with a tendency to be lazy, whereas Barker is full of goodness, being hardworking and careful. However, the two characters interact wonderfully and through the stories, their characters and the relationship between them develops and they become much more than just a bad cat and a good dog.
Both the vocabulary and illustrations in the book are beautiful. The descriptions of the settings are detailed and perfectly capture the season and the atmosphere of the moment.
‘It was a particularly beautiful day. The air was fragrant with the smell of hay and flowers. Birds flitted happily from tree to tree. A few puffy clouds hung in the sky as if they had been painted on a blue background…. A motor scooter hummed somewhere in the distance, but otherwise it was completely silent. And beautiful enough to make anyone’s heart soar.’
Each story has full and half-page illustrations. These are beautifully delicate and whimsical ink drawings with water colour hues. In addition, the first letter of each story is enlarged and illustrated. The illustrations make the book even more special and enjoyable for young readers.
If you are looking for a lovely selection of short stories, then look no further. Bicycling to the Moon is simply delightful.
Bicycling to the Moon by Timo Parvela, illustrated by Virpi Talvitie
Gecko Press ISBN: 978-1776570317