cover image Big Wheel

Big Wheel

Marilyn Singer. Hyperion Books, $15.95 (153pp) ISBN 978-1-56282-583-6

Wheel and his friends are going to host the best Fourth of July carnival ever--if they don't kill each other first. Wheel demands that everyone practice difficult tasks constantly, even in the hot summer sun. Desite his best friend Tag's warnings, Wheel pushes the gang even harder. Then Topper, the new kid in town, offers Wheel's friends ice cream, an old attic to explore and a large, cool swimming pool. A lonely Wheel soon realizes he's pitted against Topper. Eventually both boys realize they have a lot to learn about friendship. Neither character, however, is especially appealing. Humorous metaphors spring up throughout the text (``My mouth feels like sunrise on the Sahara. My heart's taking off like a pigeon at a cat show''), but because they do not sound like a boy's words, they distract from the narrative. Still, a surprise twist and an energetic ending wind up the book on a positive note. Ages 10-14. (Nov.)