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Gus and Grandpa and the Two-Wheeled Bike

Gus and Grandpa and the Two-Wheeled Bike

by Claudia Mills, Catherine Stock (Illustrator)

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Gus does not want to give up the training wheels on his bike, even for a new five-speed bicycle, until Grandpa helps him learn how to get along without them.


Gus does not want to give up the training wheels on his bike, even for a new five-speed bicycle, until Grandpa helps him learn how to get along without them.

Editorial Reviews

Horn Book Magazine
Anyone who's ever wobbled on the bike path of life will appreciate this latest entry in Mills's Gus and Grandpa series for newly independent readers. Once again, it's Grandpa who understands, here about Gus's reluctance to give up the security of training wheels. When Gus's father tries to help by surprising him with a fancy new five-speed, Gus is intimidated rather than inspired. Fortunately, there's Grandpa. He unearths an old, old bike-the one Gus's father learned to ride on-and after a few million times around the parking lot, with Grandpa holding on, Gus is ready to pedal off on his own, training-wheel free. Mills takes Gus smoothly from dependent ("With training wheels, his bike didn't tip. The wheels didn't wobble. His bike didn't fall over....Why would anybody not want training wheels?") to triumphant ("Gus felt as if he were flying. When Gus turned around a curve, his bike turned with him, like a winged horse galloping across the sky"). Mills-who seems to get better and better with each new book-does so much right here. She knows, for instance, that such a one as Gus would be interested less in the new bike's five speeds and hand brakes and more in the water bottle with its "special holder." Most admirably, she conveys strong sentiment as she depicts the sense of security and understanding between Gus and Grandpa-one of the nicest intergenerational friendships since Helen Griffith's Granddaddy and Janetta-without a trace of mawkishness. Stock's illustrations in loose line and watercolor augment the story of this childhood rite of passage expressively, showing Gus contentedly riding a bike with training wheels that's clearly much too small for him; unsteady and full of trepidation on the too-fancy new bicycle; soaring ecstatically on Daddy's old bike once he learns to ride; and finally, all smiles, wrapping his arms around Grandpa. "He would never forget that Grandpa had taught him how. He would remember that forever."
Children's Literature - Dr. Judy Rowen
The familiar, childhood rite of passage, learning to ride a bicycle, is given gentle treatment in this early reader chapter book. Gus is happy using training wheels, but his parents buy him a shiny new bike with gears. He is afraid to learn after a few tumbles. Grandpa knows just the answer-he has the old, rusty bicycle Gus' dad learned to ride many years ago. With a little work, Gus is flying! He will always remember who taught him to ride. Full-color illustrations done with line and watercolor wash convey the love between Gus and his grandpa.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Fans of the previous beginning chapter books in this series, which include Gus and Grandpa (1996) and Gus and Grandpa at the Hospital (1998, both Farrar), are sure to welcome this addition. When Gus balks at removing the training wheels from his bike, his dad tries to win him over with a fancy new bicycle that has five speeds, hand brakes, and a water bottle with its own holder. After more than a few crashes on his new wheels, Gus decides to return to his steadier old friend. Then Grandpa has an idea that leads the duo to spruce up Gus's father's old bike and head to an empty parking lot. Teamwork and practice blended with the boy's growing confidence soon have him riding on his own. Readers will identify with the youngster's fear and reliance on the training wheels. Gus's worries are never trivialized and his family and friends are supportive. Stock's muted watercolors nicely reflect both the plot's elements and the close bond between grandfather and grandson. A charming look at a rite of passage for many young children.-Maura Bresnahan, Shawsheen School, Andover, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Gus and Grandpa (Gus and Grandpa Ride the Train, 1998, etc.) return, this time to tackle that classic coming-of-age moment: when the training wheels come off. Gus is a happy cyclist until Ryan, new in the neighborhood and about Gus's age, rides by on his racing bike and asks Gus why he still uses training wheels. Gus loves his training wheels, which stabilize an otherwise "tippy, slippy, floppy, falling-over bike." Gus's father asks if Gus wants to remove his training wheels; Gus says no. In a rather interfering manner, his father buys him a new bike that proves to be Gus's nemesis. He keeps crashing, and has the banged-up knees to prove it. Grandpa has an idea. He rolls out Gus's father's old bike, a sort of intermediate model between training-wheels and Gus's new bike. Then Grandpa holds on to the back of the seat as Gus rides around a parking lot a "million" times and starts to feel the wind in his sails. Sweet and mellow: Mills (and Stock, of course) hits the right degree of fear without having to revert to terror to delineate the importance of Gus's act, and Grandpa is no saint, just a gentleman who understands the notion of patience-something his son is still working on. (Fiction. 6-9) .

Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
Gus and Grandpa Series
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
6 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Claudia Mills lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Catherine Stock lives in New York City.

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