cover image The Bicycle Spy

The Bicycle Spy

Yona Zeldis McDonough. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-545-85095-7

A winning protagonist propels this WWII adventure, which is set in 1942 in a Nazi-occupied French village. Diminutive yet determined 12-year-old Marcel loves to ride his bicycle and adores the Tour de France, which has been suspended because of the war. Marcel imagines himself on the Tour as he delivers bread for his baker parents, slipping sweets to armed guards to win their cooperation. McDonough (Little Author in the Big Woods) effectively escalates the conflict as Marcel discovers coded messages inside the loaves and realizes that his parents are members of the Resistance. Marcel forms a fast friendship with Delphine, a clever girl who shares his love of biking, and later discovers her family's Jewish heritage, which puts them in grave danger. Some narrative elements feel rushed, such as how quickly Marcel and Delphine disclose their families' secrets to each other, but readers should be riveted as Marcel encourages his parents to help Delphine's family escape and helps put a daring rescue into action. This engrossing introduction to WWII also includes a glossary, historical notes, and reading suggestions. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. Agent: Judith Ehrlich, Judith Ehrlich Literary Management. (Sept.)