When his best friend, Gloria, gets a new bike, Julian (7) is dismayed: he doesn't want to learn to ride, because he's afraid of failing. So he tells a series of fibs, including explaining to Gloria that he can't learn to ride because Dad is making him work day and night, and (trying unsuccessfully to cover his tracks) telling Dad that he wants to earn money for a racing car to have when he grows up. Dad, partly understanding, calls his bluff and gives him plenty of work; Mom, who guesses the truth, offers comfort and sage advice. In a satisfying conclusion, Julian gets his own bike as a reward for considerable labor, and then learns what fun it can be to ride. This is a perfectly constructed young reader, with a series of neat turns in the plot, the sort of sensible, loving family found in the Cosby show, and engaging dialogue. It should be a welcome companion to the other books about Julian, and would be good for reading to older preschoolers.