Monday, May 20, 2024

I Cannot Draw a Bicycle by Charise Mericle Harper

Today's read partners up with another book, I Cannot Draw A Horse, which appeared in 2022 (you can read my review on that one here). Since I did enjoy that one quite a bit, I was happy to get my hands on a copy of this second read, where it appears, the horse now gets a bicycle. After all, every horse needs a bicycle....  if our pony would like one? Hmmm....

Anyway, I'm curious to see if this one holds enough originality over the last to still make it interesting and am hoping for the same, witty humor. And what better way to begin a new week than with a smile?

by Charise Mericle Harper
Union Square Kids
Picture Book
ages 4 to 8
48 pages

Award-winning author and illustrator Charise Mericle Harper creates a laugh-out-loud picture book about making something out of nothing and the power of imagination in this companion title to I Cannot Draw a Horse .
The Horse wants a bicycle.
A bicycle is hard to draw.
The Book cannot draw a bicycle.
But the Book CAN draw shapes.
Can the Horse and the Cat build a bicycle from shapes? Or will their dreams end in pieces?

Featuring the same quirky contemporary voice and kid-friendly comic illustration style as its predecessor, I Cannot Draw a Horse , this children's metafiction book is an art lesson about creativity and determination, wrapped around a humorous narrative. Readers who have enjoyed other fourth wall—breaking books like B.J. Novak's The Book With No Pictures will appreciate the interactive elements in this book for children ages 3–8.

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Silliness ensues as a simple shape morphs into all sorts of possibilities to meet an expectation the characters can't even define themselves.

An unseen narrator begins the read with one, simple sentence on one page and a very simple shape on the next. While it might first appear to be a boring, gray bump, the entire book mountains with imaginative possibilities from there. Using the the shape, the narrator forms a cat, a horse, and a skateboard, which seems nice, but the horse wants a bicycle...sounds like a somewhat-doable task until misunderstandings and more lead into all sorts of unexpected directions. There's tons of wit, plenty imagination, and a ridiculous back and forth which promises more than a couple giggles and smiles.

Everything about this read steers toward the younger audience level. The text is simple, uses a large font, and stays concise, making it great even for beginner readers to start following along or as a read aloud in group settings. The illustrations concentrate on the two characters and whatever item is drawn at that moment. This helps readers to easily identify the shape's use in various ways and forms, and demonstrates how something so basic can be expanded into so much more. This also can lead to art/craft projects and does help exercise the imagination and creativity in a very enjoyable way.

It's a fun book with clever twists, builds creative skills, and will have listeners laughing, too.

And here he is...

Charise Mericle Harper is the award-winning author and illustrator of numerous children’s books and series, including the Just Grace series, the Fashion Kitty series, and the Next Best Junior Chef series. Harper’s signature wit, kid-friendly illustrations, and wholly original style have made her a familiar name with caregivers, educators, and librarians looking for books that encourage imagination and showcase art education. Charise lives with her family and furry pets in Portland, Oregon.

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