Gecko Press has arranged a very sweet translation of this book by famed Finnish children’s author Timo Parvela. Bicycling to the Moon is a chapter book about Purdy and Barker, a cat and dog that are opposites in all ways and live together “in a sky-blue house on top of a hill.” The odd-couple pairing allows the set up of many charming conflicts between the pair.
The stories are quite detailed character studies and it is nice to see a children’s book with such well-developed characters. My youngest daughter liked guessing what would happen next, based on what she knew about the characters. It is a fantastic read aloud book for five- and six-year-olds. She enjoyed it when the the pair were setting each other up for pranks. I really enjoyed how Barker and Purdy would stop just short of being horrid to each other as their mutual regard reigned in their mischief.
Older independent readers will enjoy the stories – while there is a link between the stories it is quite easy to just read a chapter by itself. All ages should enjoy the attractive illustrations. Indeed, my memories of the story are strongly based on the illustrations. This beautiful book will make a great birthday gift for any child.
Review of Bicycling to the Moon by Hannah Wong-Ming, age nine.
Purdy is very playful and impatient whereas Barker is disciplined and focused. They each have different ideas and goals and Purdy gets on Barker’s fur a lot! There are some really funny pictures and I like how the first letter of each chapter is drawn. At one point Purdy asks for a surprise party and another time he bosses around Barker when going fishing. Barker is very caring about his vegetable patch and seems to have a good memory.
I liked this book because of how one event flows into another. I liked the illustrations, especially the one that is on the bookmark.
I would recommend this book for fluent readers aged 8-12.
Reviewed by Emma and Hannah Wong-Ming
Bicycling to the Moon
by Timo Parvela and Virpi Talvitie
Published by Gecko Press