Bicycling to the Moon by Timo Parvela

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Bicycling to the Moon by Timo Parvela

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Tony Taylor
Reviewed by Tony Taylor
Summary: Strong moral messages portrayed by two mismatched friends in a fun and engaging series of short stories.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 128 Date: June 2016
Publisher: Gecko Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1776570324

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Bicycling to the Moon is a series of short stories which all centre around two main characters: Purdy the cat and Dexter the dog who live together in a sky-blue house on the top of a hill. Purdy is a somewhat selfish cat who demonstrates rather impulsive behaviour and is always rushing around, whereas Baxter is much more refined, thoughtful and is careful to make the right choices. Each story works as an individual tale which could be read out of order; however there is a seasonal progression to the order of the book.

The stories have a strong moral basis where there is a clear learning message within. Themes such as friendship, selfishness, anger, helping others and being thankful are just some examples of the messages which appear. They are similar in nature and akin to the popular Aesop's Fables which all involve animal characters with a moral at the end of the story, for example: The Ant and the Grasshopper, The Hare and the Tortoise or The Lion and the Mouse are all well-known stories in a comparable style. I particularly enjoyed Bicycling to the Moon, as having the same characters throughout built up their profiles and personalities further and deeper rather than it being simply a selfish cat and a friendly dog. Each story adds layers to their characterisation even though they do not necessarily link together. It is also pleasing that the stories are not always negative towards Purdy the cat as they demonstrate that just because they are different they both are able to succeed and offer ways to help within the situations.

The occasional colour pictures are brilliant; these will strongly appeal to younger readers. The stories are appropriate to be read aloud to children 6+ but a confident 9+ reader would be able to read independently. I enjoyed the interactions between Purdy and Baxter, moreover I was thoroughly impressed by the feeling and description of the settings and seasons that Timo Pavela creates. When describing autumn, he writes: The night was cold. The beams in the house creaked, and once the fire had died down the icy hand of frost crept up through the floorboards. It poked its chilly fingers beneath Purdy's quilt, keeping him awake and listening to the expectant silence. As a Year 6 Primary School teacher, I always encourage children to stop and reread key descriptions in a story and analyse how effective the author's descriptions are and what writing tools they have used. Throughout this book there are many quality writing moments which capture perfectly the sense of the season; this example is a flavour of how the effective the writing is at an appropriate and readable level for the age group.

Timo Pavela is a popular author in Finland and with the illustrator Virpi Talvitie they have won awards for their children's books. Bicycling to the Moon was originally published in New Zealand and Gecko Press has produced a beautiful book with quality thick pages which help make the book a pleasure to read. For further reading, I would encourage anyone to read a range of Aesop's Fables as these compliment Bicycling to the Moon.

From the same stable we have a review of The King and the Sea by Heinz Janisch and Wolf Erlbruch but we did wonder how many children would get the point of the book. It's difficult to miss the point in Everything is MINE by Andrea D'Aquino which is from Tate Publishing and of similar production values to Bicycling to the Moon from Gecko Press.

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Buy Bicycling to the Moon by Timo Parvela at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bicycling to the Moon by Timo Parvela at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Bicycling to the Moon by Timo Parvela at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bicycling to the Moon by Timo Parvela at


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