A FEW OTHER EVENTS FOR
- Happy birthday Ann Schlee (Ask Me No Questions), Sheila Greenwald (Rosy Cole series), Adrienne Kennaway (Greedy Zebra), Lisbeth Zwerger (Gift of the Magi), Jennifer Roy (Mindblind) and twin sister Julia DeVillers (Liberty Porter, First Daughter), and Raina Telgemeir (Smile).
- Jazz musician Miles Davis (1926-1991) was born on this day. Read Lookinâ€™ for Bird in the Big City by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Marek Los.
- Best birthday wishes to astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel into space. Read Mission: Planet Earth by Sally Ride and Tam Oâ€™Shaughnessy. And by the way, itâ€™s Sally Ride Day!
Organizers of National Bike Monthâ€”established to celebrate bicycling for fun, fitness, and transportationâ€”estimate that five million people will participate in biking activities across the country during May. Certainly for many people, nothing says â€śgood weatherâ€ť and â€śgood timesâ€ť as much as the idea of a bike trip, however long or short. I just wish the National Bike Month organizers would expand their anticipated populationâ€”after all, many animals might like to take a spin as well!
This delightful premise lies behind David Shannonâ€™s Duck on a Bike, first published in 2002. Shannon consistently crafts picture books that tell fascinating stories and contain the right balance of text and art. With unusual perspectives in the illustrations that are drenched with bright, sunny color, Duck on a Bike showcases all of his talents.
On the title page, we meet our hero: Duck looks at a huge bicycle and strokes his chin. What is he thinking? On the first page readers learn that Duck has a wild idea: He can ride a bike! So he waddles over to a boyâ€™s bike, jumps aboard, and then wobbles away. Soon Duck gets his bike legs and realizes just how much fun he can have.
In a repetitive-pattern story, Duck rides past some barnyard creatures and says hello. Although all the cow does is moo or the sheep baas, they each have basically negative thoughts about biking. The dog chases Duck, and the cat â€śwouldnâ€™t waste my time riding a bike!â€ť, but none of this fazes our hero who moves jauntily along, enjoying a wonderful day. Goats, pigs, mice, and a horse all weigh in with their thoughts, until a group of kids race down the road. They park their bikes beside a house and go inside. The next wordless double-page spread shows only the animals with their faces quite animated. Then they all jump on a bike and ride around the barnyard. In a humorous end to the tale, all bikes get returned, with their owners none the wiser. On the last page we see our hero againâ€”sizing up a tractor.
As funny and lighthearted as this book is, it also explores some serious ideas. A fourth grader in Ohio named Kerri felt that the book encouraged her not to be disheartened by othersâ€™ negative comments. Since Duck doesnâ€™t care what others think, his approach to life gave her a way to respond differently. â€śWhen my brother teases me,â€ť she said, â€śI wonâ€™t care.â€ť
Personally, I would cheer for Duck if he ever took on the Tour de France. But in the meantime parents and children, ages one through ten, can enjoy reading and rereading about Duckâ€™s escapades in this totally satisfying picture book.
Hereâ€™s a page from Duck on a Bike:
Originally posted May 26, 2011. Updated for .