cover image Born to Ride: A Story About Bicycle Face

Born to Ride: A Story About Bicycle Face

Larissa Theule, illus. by Kelsey Garrity-Riley. Abrams, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4197-3412-0

Louisa Belinda Bellflower wants to ride a bike, but in 1896, it’s just not something the girls and women of Rochester, N.Y., do. Undaunted, the intrepid girl makes her brother show her how to ride, though they are both afraid she might get “bicycle face”—a terrifying condition that purportedly strikes girls and women—“Your eyes will bulge, and your jaw will close up from the strain of trying” (an author’s note reveals that so-called experts did try to scare women riders with this claim). Louisa persists, and her true bicycle face appears—“a gigantic, joyous smile.” Her discovery inspires her mother and other women in the community to become cyclists, too. Simple but thoughtfully detailed, Garrity-Riley’s illustrations incorporate multiple references to women’s suffrage campaigns. An informative afterword explains the connection between the rise of cycling and women’s rights. Ages 4–8. [em](Mar.) [/em]