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Allen Morgan
Illustrated by Steve Beinicke

Willowdale (Ont.), Annick Press, 1990. unpaged, cloth, ISBN 1-55037-083-9 (cloth) $12.95, ISBN 1-55037-082-0 (paper) $4.95. CIP

Pre-school to Grade 2/Ages 4 to 7
Reviewed by Marilyn Aldworth.

Volume 19 Number 1
1991 January

Five-year-old Andrew has outgrown his tricyle but his parents can't afford to buy him a two-wheeler. He discovers that a herd of wild bikes lives in the ravine by his house. Sneaking out of the house one night he confronts the herd of wild bikes. Like wild animals, most of them are afraid and back away, but there is one who lets curious Andrew though it. Eventually, after an all-night ride with the bucking, kicking, spinning bike, Andrew finally tames it. Now Andrew has his two-wheeler and in appreciation of the bike's heritage, Andrew even takes the tamed bike back to the ravine so "it wouldn't forget where it came from."

This imaginative fantasy will please pre-schoolers with its almost surrealistic illustrations that figure largely on their own page, opposite the text. But the promise of bikes having animal-like characteristics may be too big a stretch for some imaginations.

The text is simple and brief with the overall flavour being one of optimism. First, we feel sad for Andrew that he can't get a two-wheeler because his parents cannot afford one but then it turns out that Andrew does indeed get a very special bicycle after all. Steve Beinicke's art is expressive and very vital and the wild bikes look pretty neat!

This is a fun book and I think it will appeal to Primary age children.

Marilyn Aldworth, North Vancouver School District, North Vancouver, B.C.
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