Yay spring, it has finally sprung. And for many, it’s time to learn how to ride a bicycle. Whee!
Yet for some, removing those training wheels is very scary. Franklin the Turtle falls when the training wheels are gone. Falling off hurts, and it’s embarrassing, and Franklin decides that he just will never learn. So he puts away his pretty red bike and, sadly, watches his friends pedal off without him.
But Franklin’s parents explain to him that learning to ride a bike takes time, and hard work. And slowly, Franklin begins to realize that the time and work are worth it.
The Franklin series is very popular, in both English and in French. En francais, Franklin is known as Benjamin. Check him out in Benjamin a Bicyclette (1997, by Paulette Bourgeois with pictures by Brenda Clark, filed with a blue dot).
For parents who worry, there’s Safety Bicycle (filed under the book title, illustrated by Sue Wilkinson, 1988, also a blue dot book). Your guides are Gina and Danny Raccoonelli.
Bestest hints: don’t wear a scarf that can get caught in the wheels, and don’t bike by dogs that love to chase after two wheelers – both for your own safety, and for that of the dog.
For kids who are a lot more excited about learning to drive a bicycle, there’s Froggy Rides A Bike (2006, by Jonathan London with pictures by Frank Remkiewicz, blue dot). Froggy is so keen on his spanking new two-wheeler he jumps out of bed and rides off in his jammies! Or at least, that’s the idea.
Froggy also must learn to keep his balance and ride like the wind.
Eventually, some (older kids) spend all summer on a bike, even riding to school. Trouble On Wheels, by Ann Aveling (1993, orange dot), features boy detective Hunter Watson.
Someone has destroyed classmate David Pruitt’s new bike, paint gouged, tires slashed. The kids gang up on an oddball, beating up the suspect. But new bikes keep getting trashed.
Hunter needs to find out who really did it. As well as cope with his friends, who are getting all googley-eyed about girls. Humph.
Here’s one last biking book, this one for grown-ups. La Bicyclette Bleue (1981, by Regine Deforges, in adult fiction) is a romance novel with Nazi edge. Our heroine, Lea Delmas, is the middle daughter of a grape grower and wine maker in France. She is 17 and, just days before the beginning of World War II, discovers that the man she loves is about to marry a rival. Her effusive declaration of love changes nothing.
She is instead courted by an infuriating rogue and then agrees to marry a man – a boy! – she’s not seen in a year.
This book takes us through the war. And the bicycle? Lea grows up, and that blue bike allows her to run messages through Nazi lines to the Resistance. And all the while, she hopes to rekindle a connection with her first love.
– Eleanor Brown, May 10, 2013