cover image The Girl and the Bicycle

The Girl and the Bicycle

Mark Pett. Simon & Schuster, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-8319-4

As in The Boy and the Airplane, Pett’s sepia-tinted drawings draw little attention to themselves in this companion book, quietly supporting his wordless story in a way that allows it to unfold smoothly. The girl of the title, often seen with her younger brother in tow, spots a bicycle in the window of a toy store and resolves to buy it. In a moment typical of Pett’s understated comedy, she thinks hard about how to earn enough money while her brother sits on the floor with the family cat on his head. The girl knocks on doors and finds an older woman living alone; together, they do yard work through the winter and into the spring. When at last she goes to buy the bicycle, it’s gone. In a moment that would be saccharine if not made credible by the story’s Jimmy Stewart–esque underpinnings, she uses the money to buy her brother a tricycle (Her hard work doesn’t go unacknowledged, though.) It’s not easy to celebrate simple virtues in an age of irony, but Pett succeeds. All ages. Agent: Kerry Sparks, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (May)