Akveld, Joukje. Get on your bike. Illust. Philip Hopman. Trans. Laura Watkinson. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2018 (org. 2014). $18.00. ISBN 9780802854896. Ages 4-8. P7 Q7
Get on your bike is an English translation of Ga toch fietsen! Originally published in Dutch, the story centers around William and Bobby (org. Willem and Boese), an argument, and how one of the characters finds a constructive way to burn off steam and gain perspective when he’s angry. Hopman packs plenty of activity into his detailed, page-filling illustrations à la Richard Scarry. The peripheral characters often look and gesture at the reader, acknowledging our presence. Get on your bike will be appreciated by young wheel enthusiasts and features charming European cultural objects and architecture.
Verdict: The story depicts a healthy way to process negative feelings, promotes outdoor activity, and provides examples of fossil fuel free transportation. It could accompany a unit on relationships or emotions.
April 2019 review by Lillian Curanzy.
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.
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.