Wednesday, April 18, 2012
I picked up the interesting picture book Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude several years ago at Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, IL. I am always interested in what other book lovers enjoy reading, and this title by Kevin O’Malley was featured as a staff pick. The graphic art style with speech balloons did not appeal to me all that much, but at that time I was intent on expanding my own picture book preferences and attracting Meris to books. The latter venture has been quite successful (when he can’t have screen time, Meris usually reads).
The story within a story begins with a boy and a girl explaining to the reader (yes, it’s got something “meta” about it) that they have an assignment to tell their favorite fairy tale. Since they cannot agree on a favorite, they decide to make up an original. The disagreements continue from there as they take turns describing a princess who loves ponies (this is the part that got Matea’s attention), a giant who steals them at night, and a cool motorcycle dude who helps bring the story to a satisfying close. There are some satisfyingly feminist plot twists along the way, too. The pages narrated by the boy and girl are illustrated by different artists and printed in different fonts, emphasizing their distinctly different preferences in fairy tales. I would never say this is one of my favorite picture books, but I admit that it has grown on me—perhaps in part because of how much my kids have enjoyed it.
As it turned out, this book did not make it into heavy reading rotation until this year, and it has been Matea, not Meris, making the repeat requests. That said, it also turns out that Kevin O’Malley has quite an extensive list of author and illustrator credits. Meris has brought several home from the school library--most recently a Captain Raptor book. And both kids are asking to add Once Upon a Royal Superbaby to our home library.
All in all, a worthwhile impulse book purchase!