The Bicycle Garden by Walter Williams

The Bicycle Garden

written and illustrated by
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Lively, colorful illustrations enhance this family bedtime story about bicycles and magic.

What kid doesn’t want a shiny new bike? Siblings Timka and Dasha are lucky enough to be able to grow one in their backyard with the help of some magic seeds. It works great at first, but then the bicycle continues to grow until it reaches the sky. The brother and sister, distraught that the bike has become unusable, plant more seeds and grow more bikes, all of which grow and grow until the backyard is a jungle of gigantic tires and metal. The author’s colored-pencil illustrations are the book’s standout feature, with vibrant primary hues and simplified, exuberant figures that seem influenced by Henri Matisse’s work. Each illustration clearly supports its corresponding page of text—no more than one sentence per page—and takes liberties with space, perspective and form in a way that children may find delightfully silly and adults, appealingly modernist. As such, they recall the work of author/illustrators such as Patrick McDonnell and Dahlov Ipcar. One page, in which the children go riding through a jumbled, joyful city, is particularly well-done, as are illustrations that show their tiny house, seen through vast frameworks of brightly colored metal. Bicycles and gardens are almost universal objects of fascination for young children, who will likely see themselves in the inventively named young protagonists. Parents may be tempted to read a larger message into the story—is it a cautionary tale about economic growth and development?—but younger readers will simply enjoy its fantastical theme and its happy, satisfying ending.

A charming picture book, full of visual appeal, which may become a family favorite.

Pub Date: Jan. 23rd, 2013
ISBN: 978-0989069809
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Fernwood & Hedges Books
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2013


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