Barton (My Car, 2001; My Bus, 2014) wheels out another conveyance—but sends this one rolling past a set of escalating surprises to a high-wire climax.
Following introductions and a view of his bicycle with its major parts labeled, Tom climbs aboard and pedals off “to work.” He sets up expectations of a perfectly ordinary ride by passing predictable parades of trucks, then buses, then cars and finally “lots of people.” These are knocked askew as successive page turns show him going on to pass…monkeys, then acrobats, then caged tigers and lions. His commute finishing at a tent, Tom then steps inside to don a loudly decorated “uniform,” paint his face with clown makeup, climb a ladder and go “to work // on my unicycle. / Look! No hands!” Rendered in saturated colors with thick, slightly wobbly digital strokes, the illustrations are characteristically simple enough to decipher easily either close up or at a distance. Lines of equally legible text are printed in a bold sans serif, split into short phrases and printed against sharply contrasting backgrounds.
A natural for group storytimes, though plenty of single tots will enjoy seeing Tom’s seemingly quotidian world suddenly transformed. (Picture book. 2-4)