Book review: Cowpoke Clyde Rides the Range, by Lori Mortensen, illustrated by Michael Allen Austin

Mortensen, Lori. Cowpoke Clyde Rides the Range. Illustrated by Michael Allen Austin. Clarion Books, 2016. $16.99. ISBN 9780544370302. Unpaged. Ages 4-7. P7Q8

Cowpoke Clyde buys a new-fangled bicycle out of a catalog so he can see what the fuss is all about. Along with Dawg, he wobbles around the prairie causing chaos and fear among the local animals. At first it doesn’t go so well, but Clyde persists and eventually decides that he likes his bike. The story is told in rhyming, humorous language that pulls the reader along at a good pace. The digital illustrations have a lot of humor in them and will appeal to most kids.

VERDICT: Children who have learned to ride a bike, or are at that age will like this story and its message that if you keep practicing, you can get good at things that are hard.

March 2019 review by Carol Schramm.

Book review: I Want a Real Bike! in Oregon, by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Josh Cleland

Kimmel, Eric A. I Want a Real Bike! In Oregon. Illustrated by Josh Cleland. Westwinds Press, 2018. $17.99. ISBN 9781513261270. Unpaged. Ages 6-8. P8 Q8

When you think about a bike, what comes to your mind? Did you know there are more than 10 different types of bikes? A raccoon has outgrown its bike and would like a “real” bike. It dreams of all the different types of bikes it could ride through Oregon. Each page describes a different bike, including a mountain bike, BMX bike, racing bike, tandem bike, cargo bike, fixie, road bike, cruiser bike, recumbent bike, and a folding bike. As the raccoon describes each bike, it rides through a variety of scenic parts of Oregon. The last page shows a porcupine riding a big wheel bike with a banner reading “naked bike ride” and the raccoon is throwing off its shirt with a grin on its face. The raccoon’s parents’ facial expressions are of surprise as they watch the animals ride by. The illustrations are beautiful and show the raccoon riding through each place, portraying Oregon accurately. The last page features seven things to consider when you chose a bike. The “Oregon Bike Rides & Events for Family” page highlights fifteen events in Oregon for families to participate in.

Verdict: If you are from Oregon or are interested in Oregon, I highly recommend this book. It features interesting places in Oregon along with bikes. If your child is interested in biking, this book is a fun way to explore different types of bikes along with Oregon scenery. Even though this book is geared for children, I think adults who like to ride bikes will enjoy it as well.

May 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: Cycle City, by Alison Farrell

Farrell, Alison. Cycle City. Chronicle Books, 2018. $17.99. ISBN 9781452163345. Unpaged. Ages 2-7. P7 Q7

If you like all types of bicycles, this is the book for you! A parade committee made up of five pigs need to deliver invitations for the Starlight parade. The Mayor, a snail, offers to deliver the invitations. As the Mayor delivers the invitations, questions in the text invite the reader to find animals and items on each page. The Mayor travels from the train station to downtown, in the park, by food bikes, at the canal, and over the bridge. This book features colorful illustrations of animals riding different types of bicycles as they gather to ride in the parade. The end pages label many types of bicylces, giving the reader additional knowledge. This is Farrell’s first book, she lives in Portland Oregon.

Verdict: The first word that enters my mind with this book is engaging. Children can spend a lot of time looking at each page. I do not recommend it for a read aloud to a group of children due to the speaking bubbles on the pages, busy illustrations, and things to find, but it is ideal for reading one on one with a child. Children will notice new things each time they read the book.

April 2018 review by Tami Harris.

Book review: In a Cloud of Dust, by Alma Fullerton, art by Brian Dienes

Fullerton, Alma. In a Cloud of Dust. Art by Brian Deines. Pajama Press, 2016. Unpaged. $8.95. ISBN 9781772780000 (pbk). Ages 4-7. P7Q8.

In Tanzania, children who may spend hours walking to the village school have the opportunity to borrow bicycles from the bicycle library.  When the bicycle library truck brings bicycles to the school, Anna, a hardworking student, comes too late to get one of the bicycles.  After she helps her friends learn to ride, Anna’s friend Mohammed shares a ride home with her.  The author’s note gives more information about the importance of reliable transportation to isolated communities in Africa and lists several organizations working to bring bicycles to these communities.

The bright, appealing illustrations carry the joy that the bicycles bring to the students through gold and orange washes, though specifics of the Tanzanian countryside are often lacking.

Verdict: Highly recommended for preschool, elementary and public libraries to increase awareness of life in different cultures and parts of the world.

January 2017 review by Jane Cothron.

Book review: The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle, by Jude Isabella, illustrated by Simone Shin

Isabella, Jude. Illustrated by Simone Shin. The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle. Kids Can Press, 2015. ISBN 978-1-77138-023-2. $18.95. Grades K-3. P8 Q9.

Isabella Red BicycleHard work and generosity are the stars of the tale of “Big Red” a bicycle that has many lives. From Leo in America who worked hard to earn enough to buy it, to Alisetta in Burkina Faso, inAfrica, who uses it to earn more money for her family, and finally to Haridata as it becomes an ambulance for transporting patients. This story tells the importance of bicycles in other parts of the world. In some places they are the only form of transportation available. Further information includes, What can you do to help?, A Note for Parents and Teachers – with teaching ideas, as well as information about Burkina Faso (the West African Country where this story takes place).

January 2016 review by Patty Dodson.