Ernie knew his wish for a racing bike for his tenth birthday was not likely to come true and so disguises his disappointment in his grandmother's gift of a clunky used bike she can barely afford. Nevertheless, he's determined to enter a bike race and luck seems to be running his way when he meets Sonny, an adult racer, who agrees to help him train. This involving chapter book moves quickly and is always grounded in elements from real life: the grandmother's need to pinch every penny, Ernie's strict training regimen, his 30th-place finish. Blesoe's first novel--punctuated with black-and-white pictures by newcomer Brown--avoids a too-slick happy ending and finds a deeper, more satisfying one on which to hang Ernie's hopes. A promising debut.