Saving up for something special can be very difficult especially when you’re a child with limited options for making money. But, in The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett our heroine has the moxie and perseverance to do just that.
While out walking with her little brother one day, she sees the best green bicycle in the whole-wide-world sitting in a store window. She races home to see what she has in her piggy bank and quickly starts looking for ways to generate the cash she needs to purchase her dream. She searches high and low, from under couch cushions and in pant pockets, running a lemonade stand, to raking leaves for a neighbour. Our enterprising protagonist won’t be daunted.
The one neighbor who initially employs her raking leaves turns into a seemingly regular gig over several months and helping with a multitude of chores allows the young girl to save up enough money for her bike.
Eventually, when girl has the money she dashes back to the bike shop only to discover the bike has been sold. Overcoming her disappointment, she decides to buy her little brother a tricycle instead. On the way home, the kindly neighbor who the girl has been working for gives her a wonderful surprise: the green bicycle is waiting for her in her yard.
A happily-ever-after story if there ever was one.
The book has a very old-fashion feel to it with sepia colouring throughout, and retro-looking clothes and hairstyles for the children, plus the fact the girl is doing chores to earn money.
Being a wordless book, the illustrations do all the work and they are a treat to read through. The illustration style is fairly simplistic with few details to distract from the characters and their actions. A couple of pages do include a few bits of information about the neighbour . Here we see objects that allude to her dreams of flying. Watch for a red airplane, the only other coloured object (besides the bike) in the book.
An enjoyable read for the primary grades.