Kirkus Reviews QR Code
NEW RED BIKE! by James E. Ransome


by James E. Ransome & illustrated by James E. Ransome

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: March 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2226-5
Publisher: Holiday House

A usually accomplished illustrator tries for extreme simplicity and takes a header with this confused and confusing episode. Having ridden his new bike “up / and down / and around” (and then, redundantly, “down the hill, / around the curve, / and back up”), Tom stops at friend Sam’s house to show it off. When he turns back from knocking at the door, his bike is gone. Four pages of searching later he suddenly spots Sam zooming around the adjacent yard (an area that was empty in a previous scene), gets an apology and happily shares bike and helmet with his buddy until a couple—presumably Sam’s parents, though they look only a year or so older—wheel in another bicycle and helmet. Along with wondering who those two newcomers are, child readers are likely to doubt that Tom’s stubby legs can reach the pedals in some scenes (in others he looks taller) and also how Sam could make a clean getaway with the bike when Tom is standing, in the picture, fewer than 10 feet away. The very brief text and simply drawn figures suspended in generous quantities of white space give this a superficially appealing look, but Ander’s Me and My Bike (2008) or Cari Best’s Sally Jean the Bicycle Queen, illustrated by Christine Davenier (2006), convey a fledgling bicyclist’s joy more effectively and coherently. (Picture book. 6-8)