cover image Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle

Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle

Chris Raschka. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-375-87007-1

Two-time Caldecott Medalist Raschka (A Ball for Daisy) crafts an encouraging, artful, and eminently practical approach to a childhood rite of passage: learning to ride a bike. Freewheeling watercolors feature a balding man—perhaps an older father or grandfather—and a cautious girl in a blue, watermelon-size helmet. The calm adult offers reassurance, pointing out all-ages bicycle commuters: “Watch everyone ride. They all learned how.” He adjusts the training wheels (“If we raise them up a smidge, you’ll begin to feel your balance”), and a pictorial sequence shows the girl’s wobbly progress. They then remove the training wheels, resulting in some spills (“Oops! You nearly had it”). The girl grows disappointed, and her helper responds with an understanding hug. By the finale, the girl joins other riders in a park, all shaped by light, translucent pools of color. Raschka’s breezy conclusion (“You are riding a bicycle! And now you’ll never forget how”) brings to mind a familiar saying. Adults will close the book with a lump in their throats, children with a firm sense of purpose. Ages 4–8. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Apr.) ■