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


The Bicycle Garden

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. 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0989069809

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Fernwood & Hedges Books

Review Posted Online: June 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves


A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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