CHRIS RASCHKA, the 2012 Caldecott Medalist, is an avid bike rider and wrote a 2010 New York Times op-ed piece, "Braking Away," about the importance of obeying the rules of the road while on a bicycle. He has written and/or illustrated over 30 books for children, including the 2012 Caldecott Medal winner A Ball for Daisy, which was also a New York Times Best Illustrated Book and described byThe Horn Book in a starred review as "noteworthy for both its artistry and its child appeal." His other books include the 2006 Caldecott Medal winner, The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster; the Caldecott Honor Book Yo? Yes!, and the ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book Good Sports.
Starred Review, Booklist, April 15, 2013:
"Deceptively simple and perfectly paced for read-alouds, this latest from the two-time Caldecott medalist captures a child's everyday experience with gentle, joyful sensitivity." Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, February 25, 2013:
"Adults will close the book with a lump in their throats, children with a firm sense of purpose." Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2013:
"A wry, respectful ode to a rite of passage that's both commonplace and marvelous. This is one fun ride!" Starred Review, School Library Journal, March 2013:
"The artist's marvelous sequences, fluid style, and emotional intelligence capture all of the momentum and exhilaration of this glorious accomplishment."
K-Gr 2-In his latest foray into childhood territory, Raschka explores the roles of adult and child in achieving one of the most challenging milestones of growing up-mastering a two-wheeler. The large, hand-lettered title framing the successful rider on the cover conveys the positive outcome, so the page turns are all about "how?" The story is narrated by an adult, presumably the father, but not limited to this relationship by text or image. The girl's thoughts are all expressed visually. When the two are picking out a new bicycle and then watching other riders, the busy pages portray colorful examples, some surrounded by washes of watercolor, others set against the white background; all are connected with small strokes that animate the compositions. Clad in an enormous, blue-striped helmet, the child is watchful, then tireless, as she practices with training wheels. The narrator admits that taking them off is "a bit scary," and the remaining scenes depict a brave girl in various stages of falling, trying, and being comforted and encouraged. In some close-ups, the heart on her shirt is askew, likely mimicking her actual pulse. Her legs, painted in thin, blue strokes, exhibit a fragile flexibility that expresses volumes. Raschka's well-chosen words, spread over several pages, admonish: "Find the courage to try it again,/again, and again. until/by luck, grace, and determination,/you are riding/a bicycle!" The artist's marvelous sequences, fluid style, and emotional intelligence capture all of the momentum and exhilaration of this glorious accomplishment.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.