West Roxbury's Paul Jamiol is an avid motorcyclist with a penchant for drawing cute animals. His third book in the "Bikers are Animals" series is now out in stores. Jamiol is the writer and artist for the books, and he answered some questions about his latest book.
Patch: You are from West Roxbury? For how long?
Jamiol: I'm originally from Cambridge and have been a resident of West Roxbury for the past 23 years.
Patch: This is your third kids book? Is this an ongoing series?
Jamiol: It is the third and I can see a forth and a fifth. After that, if I'm not tired of drawing critters on motorcycles, they'll be at least one or two more.
Patch: Tell me about 'Bikers are Animals 3'. What is it about without giving away the ending?
Jamiol: It's the story of a group of animals who decide to get together and go on an overnight trip to the mountains on their motorcycles.
Patch: What age group is this book for?
Jamiol: Two to six... For the younger set it's a really neat bedtime story to read to them.
Patch: The subtitle is 'On the Road' - have they not been on the road previous to this story? Is there any connection to Keruoac's 'On the Road'?
Jamiol: No connection to Keruorac's "On the Road." That's the first time I've been asked that question...LOL.
The first two books introduced the characters with a drawing of them on their motorcycles with a little about each on the preceding page. There are 25 characters between the two books. They run the gamut of large and small, male and female, feathered and furry. This third book takes the characters from the first book on a road trip.
Patch: So these are animals riding motorcycles? Two safety questions: are they wearing helmets (even in New Hampshire?)? And how do they reach the pedals?
Jamiol: Some are wearing helmets and some are not. In each book, we have a safety section that stresses that these are cartoon characters and real kids always wear helmets, proper clothing and listen to their adults around motorcycles. We want to make safety paramount in young impressionable minds. Funny about the pedal/foot pegs. I've got license with the drawings so there's no problem with the animals reaching the foot pegs and controls. However, we tell kids in the safety tips that they can't ride as a passenger unless their feet can touch the rear foot pegs.
Patch: What made you come up with such a creative story? Most kids books do not involve motorcycles.
Jamiol: I've been an avid motorcycle enthusiast all my adult life and love riding. I wanted to share that love with kids and show them riding is fun. I also wanted to show a positive side of those involved in motorcycling for both parents and kids. So the other important aspect of this book is that it's s about friendship, respect and independence. One can be an individual and still have fun in a group.
Patch: Tell me about the illustrator, she's from around here, too? How did you two come to meet and work together?
Jamiol: I'm both illustrator and writer. Linda [Habib] is the editor and also the person I go to when I want to get it right. We actually met through a mutual biker friend and I was smitten from the word go.
Patch: Where can someone buy the book?
Jamiol: They can by it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble online and also at www.bikersareanimals.com.
Patch: Anything else you'd like to say about the book, yourself, your dog, et al?
Jamiol: This is not just a "motorcycle" book. It is for any child and I think all parents will like the message of different animals working together and having fun.
Our dog Bandit was actually the the starting point for these books. At Christmas every year I would draw him on a motorcycle for our Christmas cards. It was fun to do (still is) and it all evolved from that. He did use his pull with Linda and I to be on the cover of the third book, He's had a little bit of a big head with the other critters ever since we put him there.