Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Small Readers: I like my bike by AG Ferrari; I Dig by Joe Cepeda

These are two of the latest titles from Holiday House's I like to read imprint. It's difficult to find the very beginning pre-reader levels, and Holiday House is, as far as I know, the only publisher to supply them in hardcover book form rather than packs of little paperbacks like BOB books (although I do buy those too).

I like my bike was published in January. The kid on the cover has shoulder-length black hair, white skin with spots of color on their cheeks. Their helmet is decorated with a dash of yellow, their pants are blue, their shirt white with blue stripes. Tucked into the basket of their red bike is a small dog, ball, and what looks like a parcel with green ribbon.

The opening pages show the kid packing up their bike and setting out into the city. Each page shows a different vehicle, each driven by a different anthropomorphic animal or human, with the sentence "I like my..." A red car with a mouth in its front bumper driven by a long-nosed dog-like creature is the first. Through each fanciful vehicle, the kid on the bike is seen in the distance, riding steadily along. Sometimes they cram onto a packed three-level bus, zip across hills, or are dwarfed by a giant cheese-truck driven by a mouse. A last picture of the kid zooming on their bike, then they arrive at their destination - a party in the park. The pictures are simple sketches and the words even simpler, but the kooky creatures and vehicles will repay multiple readings and viewings since kids are sure to notice new details each time they visit the book.

I dig was published in May. It's the second book featuring Joe Cepeda's imaginative set of brothers. Brown-haired and with light brown skin, the smaller boy excitedly points out features of the beach, ending with a shovel. He sets out to dig, encountering shells, sea stars and their dog in his sandy tunnel. Finally, he re-emerges and the two watch the stars come out together on the beach. Simple but funny, Cepeda's thick, digital colors aren't my personal favorites, but they're a nice complement to the simple text and lightly humorous underground discoveries at the beach.

Verdict: Kids at the beginning of their reading journey need a wide range of titles and these fill a needed gap, even if they may not be "great literature". They're certainly a step above Dick and Jane and offer a fun variety of art styles and gentle humor. Add these to keep your collection balanced with plenty of fun, lower-level titles for beginners.

I like my bike
ISBN: 9780823440979

I Dig
ISBN: 9780823439751

Published 2019 by Holiday House; Purchased for the library

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