TOGETHER WE RIDE by Valerie Bolling and Kaylani Juanita

Pictured above is the newest addition to our classroom library: TOGETHER WE RIDE by Valerie Bolling and Kaylani Juanita (Chronicle). Yes, I know it’s an empty book stand. But that’s just because ever since it arrived, the book has been passed from one marker-stained set of hands to the next, and never makes it back to the shelf long enough for me to get a photo. 

In this vibrant, joyful picture book, a young girl learns to ride a bike with the help of her father. The story is simple and the milestone is familiar, which I think is precisely why it has captivated my young readers so thoroughly.

Additionally, as one kindergartner put it, “the word part is a little tiny.” TOGETHER WE RIDE’s brief text allowed us to read it twice in one sitting, which is helpful to any teacher (or parent) faced with demands of “again.” On the first read, we dug into the language. Although there are only about 30 words in the entire text, the rich vocabulary provides opportunities to discover what a “quick stride” is or what it means to “coast.” And everyone had something to say about learning to ride a bike, falling into bushes (oh, how kids love sharing a falling story), or the cute dog in the illustrations. By the second read, the children were able to read along with me and they LOVE when that happens! And now, they are reading TOGETHER WE RIDE mostly on their own. With the steady rhythm and memorable rhymes, their five-year-old renditions sound like chants, or even cheers. 

When the children aren’t reading TOGETHER WE RIDE, they are flinging off the dust jacket in the ultimate bookish magic trick to peek at the art on the case cover beneath—a closeup of the happy bike-riding family complete with fruit stickers on the protagonist’s helmet. The illustrations are bright and cheery, filled with energetic, reassuring scenes of trying, falling, and getting up again. Despite the Golden Gate Bridge in the background of several spreads, the kindergartners insist that this story takes place in their own New York City—but that’s just wishful thinking.

TOGETHER WE RIDE is a perfect spring time read for the littlest picture book fans. 

And CONGRATULATIONS to Linda Hume for winning a copy of ABDUL’S STORY by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and Tiffany Rose!

12 Comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing Valerie and Kaylani’s book, Sara. I can’t wait to read it and note all the things that you and your class found so delightful!

  2. This book sounds delightful, with it’s spare text and child connections. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy to read. Thanks for introducing me to it!

  3. Angie Quantrell

    Awww, so adorable! I love it when kids “get” a book and claim it as their own. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Sweet! Learning to ride that bike is such a milestone.

  5. Elayne N Crain

    Aww, this looks so sweet and energizing!

  6. This looks so sweet!

  7. This is such a fun and perfect book for the picture book crowd. Thanks for sharing!

  8. This book is so delightful. Perfect words and illustrations!

  9. I think that “the word part is a little tiny” is such a precious way to think of spare text! But it is no tiny feat to tell a story with those few words, and Valerie has done a perfectly lovely job of it for her young audiences! Both the text and Kaylani’s illustrations make me smile! Best of luck with this book!

  10. Oh, this looks CUTE. So fun to hear about a book that prompts kindergarten chitchat … and one that they clamor to get their hands on.

  11. Thank you for this wonderful review, Sara! I’m so glad your students enjoyed it. And thank all of you for your comments. I hope you enjoy the book if you read it

  12. Great recommendation Sara! Adding it to my list.

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