Blog readers and bike touring ramblers Fin & Zoa have been writing children’s books based on some of their touring adventures. The main characters are their own dogs who travel with them.
You can click on the cover art above to jump to Fin & Zoa’s site – here is what they say about this book called The Great Grizzly North:
“When the Dog Detectives pedal into the wild woods of Canada they find a bully in ‘town’… a big, mean grizzly one. The grizzliest grizzly bear of all has stolen everyone’s bikes and turned the forest into a place of fear.
Jump on your mountain bike and help Detective Jack and Deputy Poco find the missing bikes in time for the Great Rocky Cycling Race. Along the way meet curious martens, feisty beavers and other furry Canadians.
The Great Grizzly North is inspired by the wild wooded valleys of the Rocky Mountains in Canada, an area with such rich biodiversity that it has been labelled the ‘Serengeti of the North’. The stunning scenery and wild animals of Canada are beautifully illustrated by Monika Suska.
This charming tale is an ode to friendship and to treating everyone with respect… even bullies!”
Fin sent me a copy of The Dog Detectives – The Great Grizzly North to review. My cat didn’t approve and I don’t have kids so I asked a few cycling friends with kids to have a look and give me their thoughts [thanks – Jo-Ann & Anna, Doug & Fiona and Mike/Brynne & Steve]. I’m reproducing Doug and Fiona’s review below because it captured all the feedback I got back from adult and mini-reviewers.
Finny [aka Fiona] says:
“read it again!” “I like the moose” [we saw a moose while camping in the snow on thanksgiving]
“Tell Vik ‘I like the book'” “It was funny when the grizally [sic] bear went thud”
[Fiona focused much more on the animals than the bikes in the story, but she loves both]
I particularly like the way that bikes and Western Canadian animals (anthropomorphic) come together in this book. I am of course biased toward bicycles and animals, but I think this was a well balanced approach. Many of this type of books get sidetracked by trying to be too many things, this one avoids that by keeping to a single story line and not introducing too many superfluous characters. The illustrations to a fabulous job of filling in some of the back story to keep the narrative from getting too ponderous. This is a nice children’s story with a fun tone. There is just enough adventure to keep it interesting, and enough message to make it educational. There is a wonderful moral to this book with a delightfully complete absence of preaching and threats. I had a little trouble switching in and out of the rhyming sections, but after I read it a couple of times, it will come naturally. I am going to have to read this book about twice a week for the next few years and so I am really glad it doesn’t suck.
I read about 10 children’s books per day and I probably average 2 new ones per week so I am quite familiar to the genre. I like this book enough that I will be purchasing the others in the series.
I went behind my cat’s back and had a read. I’m not much of a children’s book expert/fan, but the art by Monika Suska looked lovely and the book was obviously well crafted with lots of love for children, bikes and the outdoors – oh ya and for dogs!