A skunk upsets a fall bicycle ride through the country.
A mother, a young child, both wearing their helmets, and a dog leave a father and baby and start off on a bike ride. They start near the sea, go past a pond with ducks, stop by a farm, pick some apples, and then meet up with the skunk. They reverse their tracks and find the rest of the family. The simple rhyming text is enlivened with onomatopoeic sounds: “I hear my bike, clackety-clack, clackety-clack / and some ducks, quackety-quack, quackety-quack.” The genderless child looks a little young to be riding without training wheels, but the brown-skinned tot is having a good time. The child, the baby (just a round head sticking out from an orange front pack), and the mother are a slight tone darker than the father. The dad takes care of the infant while the mom goes on the short adventure with the older child, reflecting contemporary families. The humans, the bikes, and the dog are boldly outlined and flatly drawn, but the autumnal landscape (evidently Vancouver, the illustrator’s home) has contrasting textures. The olive greens and browns are subtle colors for this age group, but there are red and gold highlights as well as the bold outlines to keep eyes focused. Small size, short text, and common experiences make this a good choice for reading aloud at home or to a small group. Publishing simultaneously is On My Skis, which finds the same family enjoying the winter; the dad takes the child out for what appears to be a first downhill-skiing experience, while the mom and the baby (tucked in a sled) watch.
This is a book that young children will easily remember and recite after a reading or two. (Picture book. 3-5)