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Messenger, Messenger


Messenger, messenger,

keepin' the groove,

Always, always, on the move.

Morning's come around again, and Calvin Curbhopper, the messenger man, is on the go, zipping around from spot to spot, taking shortcuts through parking lots, steering through the midday blare of honking horns, his breath like a smokestack in the frosty air. Wind, snow, rain, sun, can't keep Calvin from ...

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Messenger, messenger,

keepin' the groove,

Always, always, on the move.

Morning's come around again, and Calvin Curbhopper, the messenger man, is on the go, zipping around from spot to spot, taking shortcuts through parking lots, steering through the midday blare of honking horns, his breath like a smokestack in the frosty air. Wind, snow, rain, sun, can't keep Calvin from making his run. And Robert Burleigh's rhythmic language keeps the groove right alongside him, further enlivened by Barry Root's energetic illustrations.

Calvin Curbhopper, a bicycle messenger, makes his way through the city in all kinds of conditions to make sure that his messages get delivered on time.

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Editorial Reviews

Sesame Street Parents
The urgency of a bicycle messenger is captured here in pulsing rhyme and vibrant watercolor pictures of big-city streets and crowds. From dawn to dusk, Calvin Curbhopper is always, always on the move, in all kinds of weather, sometimes cold to the bone, calling in for messages, eating on the run. At the end of the day, he rides over a bridge and reaches home, where his ginger-colored cat is there to greet him. Wind, snow, rain, sun, Messenger, messenger day's work done.
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Rap rhythms accompany Calvin Curbhopper's waking in the small room he shares with his cat. Award-winning artist Barry Root's energetic double-page spreads throughout begin with morning colors of bright yellow and orange as Calvin carries his bike downstairs and crosses a bridge into the city (which seems to be New York). The story is a rap on Calvin's day, from the first delivery at 8 o'clock to several in "midday blare" and through the icy afternoon when he is "cold to the bone." Small readers will find comforting rhythms here--and an introduction to a broad range of the city's people, places, and occupations, from poor neighborhoods to rich, climaxing with a panoramic view of the city with all its lights on. "And then it's time to go,/ Calvin Curbhopper, takin' it slow" leads us back to Calvin's tiny room, with the cat stretching to give a warm welcome. An avid cyclist himself, author Robert Burleigh conducted many hours of interviews and conversations with bike messengers to get his material and, because of an unusually fruitful collaboration between writer and artist Barry Root, the book is alive with the sounds and sights of a day in New York. 2000, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Ages 3 to 6, $16.00. Reviewer: Nancy Tilly—Children's Literature
School Library Journal
K-Gr 5-Burleigh's hip-hop rhyming couplets see a bike messenger through a busy day in a bustling city. "First delivery (eight, no later)/Revolving door and escalator,/Messenger, messenger,/keepin' the groove,/Always, always, on the move." The short text moves quickly and rhythmically, though it falters a couple of times; and is well matched by the illustrations that show a diverse and busy city from many perspectives. Root's full-bleed, double-page gouache spreads have a golden autumn, urban glow, and show Calvin Curbhopper cycling through many different neighborhoods. Questionably, the messenger wears a Walkman while he rides-not only unsafe but illegal. Despite these quibbles, this is a unique and attractive visual and aural perspective of city life that will appeal to a wide age range.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Karen Carden
The real appeal of this book is the colorful and energetic artwork of Barry Root. He incorporates urban detail into every scene...Readers with a city background will delight in the familiarity of the settings; rural and suburban children should enjoy viewing the fascinating, frenetic world of a bike messenger.
The Christian Science Monitor
Kirkus Reviews
In propulsive rhymed couplets, Burleigh (Hercules, 1999, etc.) tells a day in the life of a bicycle messenger in a city inspired by Chicago. "Sun, wind, rain, snow / Messenger, messenger, gotta go." And go he does, the wiry, bearded young Calvin Curbhopper, the color of caramel. He carries his bike downstairs, rides it over the bridge and through the city, from an early morning delivery to a nighttime view from the 95th floor. His cell phone keeps him in touch as he moves from office building (note the firm of Stolzfus, King, Yoder, and Zook) to the dark side of town (the sign says "Busy: please go away"). He eats his lunch on the run and waves to his buddies as he zips by. The gouache paintings use yellow as a leitmotif: for sunlight, for building stone, for city illumination. The images are bookended by Calvin's studio apartment: with its futon bed, take-out containers (the stove is piled high with books), and retro turntable. We catch a glimpse of Calvin's endearingly urban life along with his bongos, his cat, and his tea mug. Children will accept and appreciate the rhythm of a life they glimpse every day. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442453357
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 12/20/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.70 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Burleigh is the award-winning author of many books for children, including The Adventures of Mark Twain by Huckleberry Finn, illustrated by Barry Blitt; Night Flight, illustrated by Wendell Minor; and Black Whiteness, illustrated by Walter Lyon Krudop. His many other books include Hoops; Stealing Home; and Clang! Clang! Beep! Beep! He lives in Michigan.

Barry Root is the illustrator of many books for children, including Gumbrella, which he also wrote; Dream Big; By My Brother’s Side; and Game Day, which received a Christopher Award in the category of books for young people. He lives with his family in Quarryville, Pennsylvania.

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