August 2023

I Cannot Draw a Bicycle

By Charise Mericle Harper
Charise Mericle Harper taps straight into the preschool funny bone, making I Cannot Draw a Bicycle an excellent, giggle-inducing choice for read-aloud storytime.
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In the follow-­up to her playful and witty I Cannot Draw a Horse, Charise Mericle Harper returns with another humorous, metafictional picture book about creativity. Harper’s clever illustrations and text contain multiple layers and connections, ensuring that children will enjoy I Cannot Draw a Bicycle for years.

The story begins simply, with words set against a graph-paper background. An unnamed narrator explains, “This is my shape,” indicating a rounded gray lump that resembles a gumdrop or a gravestone. That lump, however, can be transformed by the narrator into a lot of things, including a cat, a skateboard and a horse. The cat seems happy atop the skateboard, but the horse is harder to please, because this equine wants a bicycle. However, the narrator isn’t able to comply: “A bicycle is hard to draw. I cannot draw a bicycle.”

So shenanigans begin, as the cat, horse and narrator interact with one another through easy-to-read speech bubbles. While the cat might be fine with a “cool” substitute such as an icicle, the horse (with mulelike stubbornness) stays firm. Things are stuck at an impasse until the horse asks a most logical question: “Why is a bicycle so hard to draw?”

The answer, sure to draw peals of laughter from readers, makes clear that no one in this book is fully prepared to draw a bicycle. Nevertheless, everyone tries, harnessing creativity, showcasing collaboration and coming up with a giggle-inducing, unexpected resolution that seems destined to launch these characters into a future adventure.

Harper taps straight into the preschool funny bone, making I Cannot Draw a Bicycle an excellent choice for read-aloud storytime. With its spare text and clean, inviting design, this book also functions well for early readers. And by fostering shape recognition and an understanding of geometry, I Cannot Draw a Bicycle provides an excellent base for encouraging young artists to draw their own cat, horse or—who knows—maybe even a bicycle!

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Get the Book

I Cannot Draw a Bicycle

I Cannot Draw a Bicycle

By Charise Mericle Harper
Union Square
ISBN 9781454945956

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