cover image My Sister's Rusty Bike

My Sister's Rusty Bike

Jim Aylesworth. Atheneum Books, $17.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31798-9

Aylesworth takes readers on a preposterous, rollicking romp as his narrator introduces the eccentric individuals he visits during a cross-country bike ride. The breezy verse rolls off the tongue as smoothly as the protagonist's wheels whir: in West Virginia, he drops in on a gal named Dee Dee Lee, who ""loves her pink pet sheep./ At night they sleep in bed with her/ In one warm, woolly heap."" From Massachusetts to California, the traveler discovers residents with uncommonly amusing pets, among them bow tie-wearing pigs who dance jigs, goats who sing country tunes and pampered toads who eat their flies a la mode. Easily matching the lighthearted humor of the text, the gouache art offers a playful spin on American primitivism. Hull (previously teamed with Aylesworth for The Cat & The Fiddle & More) here employs an unusually rich palette in his stylized renderings of these comical characters. Kids will follow this cyclist happily--over and over again. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)