cover image Bug on a Bike

Bug on a Bike

Chris Monroe. Carolrhoda, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4677-2154-7

A polka-dot dog, ants on a log, an “athletic pickle,” a smiling nickel, a bear eating honey, and a skateboarding bunny are among the characters that join a festive cavalcade led by a helmet-wearing ladybug on a bike. Each eagerly falls in line, following the leader up and down hills, across a river, and through a forest, wondering where they are headed: “Where are they riding/ on such a nice day?/ They asked the bug—/ But he just wouldn’t say.” Monroe’s (Cookie, the Walker) cumulative verse reveals a penchant for nonsense and non sequitur, while her wispy cartoons have a manic energy that matches the text’s quirkiness and showcases amusing transportation-related details: clams travel in a boat with wheels, a cat and a fez-wearing monkey ride along on roller skates, while the aforementioned pickle opts for a skateboard. The story’s energy continues full tilt after the travelers reach finally their surprise destination—the bug’s extravagant birthday party, which is chock-full of activities, snacks, and food. This boisterous outing works well as both a read-alone for beginning readers and a readaloud for story time. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)