Three years ago I wrote a review of “The Adventures of Mimi and Moto,” a children’s book that follows “blue-eyed Mimi, a female monkey, and green-eyed Moto, her male companion, as they ride dirt bikes, sportbikes, choppers, a sidecar and what looks like a Gold Wing.” At the time, my then six-month-old niece Nina was too young to understand the words, but she enjoyed having the book read to her by her parents before bed. Nina loves story time so much that she demands it before naps or nightly bedtime.
Nina is now three-and-a-half, and although she hasn’t started riding a little dirt bike yet (fingers crossed!), she’s become proficient at riding a Strider balance bike. She’s also quite precocious and has an amazing command of language for a girl her age.
When the authors of “Mimi and Moto,” the wife-and-husband team of Nancy Gerloff and Mark Augustyn, sent me their latest book, “Mimi and Moto Ride the Alphabet,” that same day I stopped by Nina’s house on my way home from the Rider office. She had been wearing a Wonder Woman outfit all day and was thrilled to get a new book.
I figured her mother or father would read the book before she went to bed that night, but Nina pestered her mother to read it to her NOW. My sister-in-law Kelly was in the middle of feeding a bottle to Nina’s seven-month-old brother, Felix, so I sat down on the couch, still wearing my bright-orange Aerostich suit, propped Nina in my lap and read her the book with the most animated voice I could muster.
Reading a book to a chatty three-year-old, I’ve learned, is very interactive. Comments are made, questions are asked, dots are connected, pages are turned back and forth — it’s a fascinating process to observe for a linear, literal, by-the-book adult like me.
Each page of “Mimi and Moto Ride the Alphabet” is dedicated to a different letter of the alphabet, with playful, colorful illustrations by Aveliya Savina and Marat Kurokhtin. Stories are told and lessons are taught, with words that begin with the featured letter shown in bold. For example, for the letter D:
Dear little rider, our day continues with the dandy letter D.
Dirt bikes, dual-sports and dads rock, do you agree?
Dirty helmets and gloves most definitely protect.
Daddies teaching their daughters and sons to ride safe deserve much respect.
I’ll admit, at times my tongue got twisted due to all of the alliteration on every page, but Nina was patient with me. We had engaging discussions about goggles versus face shields, the purpose of knobby tires and the relative merits of different flavors of ice cream (the letter I). And Nina enjoyed playing the guessing game of identifying the animal shown on each page (but not mentioned in the text) whose name begins with the featured letter—a frog on the F page, a unicorn on the U page and so on.
As much as Nina enjoyed the book, Uncle Greg got a kick out of identifying different motorcycles shown throughout, like a Triumph Thruxton (C is for café racer), BMW GS adventure bikes (N is for “navigating their Iceland adventure”), a Yamaha MT-07, a Ducati Hypermotard and a KTM 1090 Adventure R (“I remember going on that press launch!”).
We applaud Nancy and Mark for promoting a positive image of motorcycles among children. They were recently recognized for their efforts by winning the Motorcycle Industry Council’s 2019 Gas Tank Competition. As Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young sang, teach your children well — and hook them young on two wheels!