Bicycling To The Moon

Timo Parvela is a teacher and a best-selling author in Finland where many of his books have been adapted for both the big and the small screen. The main characters in Bicycling To The Moon have their own TV show and the author does regular school tours where their adventures are read and discussed.

The classroom would indeed be a very good place to introduce this low-key little book which gently teaches about the nature of friendship and the stresses and strains of relationships.

Purdy and Barker are an odd couple of pals. Purdy is a selfish, thoughtless cat while Barker is an industrious, careful dog. They share a home, a life and a strong need for each other despite their differences and their difficulties. Virpi Tavitie’s lovely colour illustrations capture the quirkiness of both the characters and their simple world.

Nothing much happens in terms of plot, but each chapter is a self-contained story that explores how friends manipulate, help, surprise and most of all forgive each other’s real and imagined slights.

It would make a lovely bedtime read for children from around 5 years old – perhaps new to school and all that entails – and they would enjoy re-reading the stories themselves when they are older. With a certain downbeat quality that may not grab adults at first, the pace is very child-friendly and the oddness grows on you in a curious off-beat way!