cover image Messenger, Messenger

Messenger, Messenger

Robert Burleigh. Atheneum Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-82103-5

Burleigh (Flight: The Story of Charles Lindbergh) hits the road with this lively look at a busy day in the life of a big-city bicycle messenger. Just after sunup, Calvin Curbhopper leaves his studio apartment with his yellow bike hoisted onto his shoulder (""Sun, wind, rain, snow,/ Messenger, messenger, gotta go""). By eight a.m., he's made his first delivery and embarked on a frenzied routine of carrying urgent business packages through traffic, tunnels, parking lots and dangerous neighborhoods, even eating his lunch on two wheels. He doesn't slow down until after nightfall, when he rides home, away from the glittering lights (""And then at last it's time to go,/ Calvin Curbhopper, takin' it slow""). The author's spare, rhyming text pedals along at the protagonist's swift pace, giving readers a taste of the messenger's special street rhythms. Root's (Two Cool Cows) dynamic gouaches of a bustling city are further energized by bold patches of sunny yellow paint bathing office buildings, taxicabs and trees. And Calvin's sleek red leggings and helmet are easy to spot as he zags and weaves through crowds of people and clusters of high rises. Ages 5-7. (June)