First published in 1988
About the Story
I don’t remember where the idea for Delphine came from. Maybe it was from seeing how difficult it is for children to learn to ride a bike, and how full of trepidation they are at the whole project. It’s one of the real rites of passage in childhood. I don’t remember why I chose the name Delphine—though it was fun to play with images of delphiniums and dolphins (Delphine means dolphin and the flower buds look like little jumping dolphins). It was fun to think of what a young giant girl might be able to do, all the while being quite scared of this task of Riding a Bicycle that confronted her.
Why do I think the book doesn’t ‘work’? For me, looking at it now, I think it’s because we don’t get a chance to relate to Delphine right off the bat and to like her before she goes off on her trip. One of the very most important jobs in a children’s book—or an adult book—is that we relate to and even identify with the hero/ine. But the house where Delphine lives is so odd and the setting takes so much effort to understand that they take over our first impressions. We don’t’ see who Delphine is, really, and the only two shots we get of her don’t show much feeling, so we aren’t that interested in what happens to her in the rest of the story.
I was really happy with some of the individual pictures, but overall, the book doesn’t work. Too bad.
copyright 2016 by Molly Bang