Author/Illustrator: Julia Woolf
Age Group: 2-5
Synopsis: The mischievous jungle creatures find a bicycle and decide to go on an exciting joy-ride.
The Low Down:
Bug got a balance bike from his grandma last summer. He loves it but still doesn’t actually propel himself forward. The idea of a bicycle is such an elevated achievement. It means he’s a big boy. When we see other adults or older children riding bicycles Bug always gets excited and says something like: “The little boy has a bicycle too! We BOTH have bicycles!” (It should be noted, that Bug’s title, little boy, is applied to any male who is not an adult.) He loves anything that reminds him of his bicycle now and Giraffe on a Bicycle could not have found us at a better time.
Julia Woolf tells this story in the pictures as much as the words. A small set of cartoons explaining the bike’s origins and interesting future, bookends the story. It begins and ends on the endpapers, so don’t be hasty and skip past the title page. Essentially a giraffe and monkey find a bicycle and thus begins the adventure. With pure unadulterated joy they zip through the jungle nabbing animals to join them. By the end, the number of animals balanced on this bike are staggering and Giraffe can’t see what’s ahead. It ends with all the animals flying in the air and then “fixing”the bicycle. Bug gasped as the bicycle flew apart and cheered as it was put back together.
Woolf does an incredible job of bringing the entire tale to life. She injects it with a vibrancy and silliness that only expands as the number of riders does. Her colors and characters are not only bright but also vibrant. They call the reader to join in on the joke and enjoy the whirlwind adventure condensed into a story. I loved that the initial and ending sections were wordless, which provided Bug an opportunity to practice his story telling skills. Reading this was so fun. We giggled and bumped our way through the book calling out to the animals we spotted in the pages. Bug only complained when it all drew to a close.
- Tell this with little ones on your lap. It makes it easier to act out the “bumpty bumps.”
I need more!
Giraffe on a Bicycle is Julia Woolf’s first author/illustrator publication. She’s illustrated a few other board books. Her work is available on her website at: http://www.juliawoolfillustration.com/