Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen

( 1 )


I can pop a wheelie, I can touch the sky,
I can pedal backwards, I can really fly!

Sally Jean was born to ride. And her bicycle, Flash, is just about her best friend. But one day something terrible - and wonderful - happens. Sally Jean grows. Suddenly she finds herself too big for Flash. What's a Bicycle Queen to do? Finally, by collecting old bicycle parts to make a new bike - and giving Flash to a young ...

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I can pop a wheelie, I can touch the sky,
I can pedal backwards, I can really fly!

Sally Jean was born to ride. And her bicycle, Flash, is just about her best friend. But one day something terrible - and wonderful - happens. Sally Jean grows. Suddenly she finds herself too big for Flash. What's a Bicycle Queen to do? Finally, by collecting old bicycle parts to make a new bike - and giving Flash to a young friend who longs for a bigger bike of his own - she rides again!

With exuberant art that's just the right match for Sally Jean's new found freedom, this joyous text celebrates growing up, learning new skills, and giving back to the community.

Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen is a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

When Sally Jean outgrows her beloved bicycle, Flash, she experiments with various ideas for acquiring a new, bigger one.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Sally Jean is a real charmer." --Starred, School Library Journal

"A rousing tale of resourcefulness that is just right to share with readers of both genders." --Kirkus Reviews

"Davenier's spontaneous, ebullient watercolors . . . capture the irresistible qualities of a little girl who knows how to make things happen." --Booklist

"Renders the exuberant joys of mobility so visible." --The Chicago Tribune

"An exuberant, can-do spirit pervades." --Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly
An exuberant, can-do spirit pervades Best's (Three Cheers for Catherine the Great!) uplifting tale of a girl whose passion enables her to create opportunities out of roadblocks. Davenier's (the Iris and Walter books) watercolors initially create a sense of forward motion. The story opens with a redheaded one-year-old waving from a child's seat on Mama's bike, then progresses through the tricycle, bicycle-with-training-wheels, training-wheels-removal, seat-raising and handle-bar raising stages. In one picture, arms widespread, Sally Jean joyfully sings: "I can pop a wheelie, I can touch the sky,/ I can pedal backwards, I can really fly!" When, at eight, she outgrows her bike, the family's financial challenges become apparent-they can't afford a bike. Without a hint of self-pity, Sally Jean confronts her circumstances with ingenuity, optimism and hard work, aided by a community that finds numerous, nonfinancial ways to support her. Though she faces adult realities, whimsical artistic touches emphasize her child's world view; her toy elephant, for instance, energetically participates in all activities. Sally Jean follows her eventual triumphant achievement of fashioning a new bike with a generous act that closes the story on a heartwarming note. Ages 4-8. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Even Sally Jean's Name (Sally Jean Sprockett) will delight readers, young and old. The adventure builds as we watch the exuberant youngster progress from riding behind Mama's bike waving to the big kids, to the tricycle Granny buys and finally to the yard-sale bike Papa finds. She learns to pop a wheelie and pedal backwards, all along announcing to the world "I'm Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen." But Sally Jean is more than a mere bicycle queen. She watches Mama raise her bike's baby seat and Papa adjust the handlebars so that when she outgrows her bicycle, she knows what to do. Pretty soon the enterprising young girl is fixing all the neighborhood bikes and singing delightfully while she rides. The expressive illustrations of the stuffed elephant, an inquisitive dog, neighborhood kids, and grownups working together add to the delight of a young girl who tackles problems head-on. A book for anyone who, like Sally Jean, was born to ride—or for those who can't resist a rollicking good story. 2006, Farrar Straus and Giroux, Ages 4 to 8.
—Augusta Scattergood
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-As a toddler, Sally Jean rides on the back of her mother's bicycle. She graduates to a tricycle at age two. By age four, she has her own yard-sale bike with training wheels. Those baby wheels come off the next year and she becomes Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen, who rides like a pro on her bike named Flash. By the time Sally Jean is eight, she has outgrown her beloved Flash. Her parents can't afford a new bike, but her neighbor, a junk collector, comes to her rescue. In exchange for cleaning his yard, he gives Sally Jean used parts. Soon she is repairing other kids' bikes, but still doesn't have one of her own-until the child comes up with an idea. Davenier's ink-and-watercolor illustrations are light and airy and convey a variety of emotions and delightful details. Sally Jean is a real charmer, and children will appreciate her resourcefulness and tenacity. Pair this terrific book with Bruce McMillan's The Remarkable Riderless Runaway Tricycle (Apple Island Bks, 1985) or Jim Aylesworth's My Sister's Rusty Bike (S & S, 1996) for a storyhour with a great deal of flash.-Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An ingenious gal relies upon some old-fashioned self-reliance to solve her pedal woes. Sally Jean, self-proclaimed Bicycle Queen and life-long cycling enthusiast, is devastated when she outgrows her trusty bike. Undiscouraged by the news that she must wait until her birthday for a new one, Sally Jean sets to work on a solution. Although her collection of odd jobs only earns her enough to buy two new tires, Sally's time as Mr. Mettle's apprentice in the junkyard bears unexpected fruit as she tackles the job of recycling an old, worn-out bike. Best's narrative sweeps readers along, with her dynamic text harkening back to tall tales of archetypal heroines of indefatigable spirit. Even more refreshing is her message to young readers in the face of our era's increasing everything's disposable mentality: A little elbow grease and a dose of ingenuity can work wonders. Davenier's full-color watercolor illustrations utilizing bold and invigorating hues tap into the energy of the tale and neatly capture Sally Jean's big personality. A rousing tale of resourcefulness that is just right to share with readers of both genders. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374363864
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 4/18/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 477,342
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD800L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.39 (w) x 11.77 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

CARI BEST's books include Shrinking Violet, a School Library
Journal Best Book. She lives in Weston, Connecticut.
CHRISTINE DAVENIER has illustrated many picture books.
She lives in Paris, France.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 12, 2009


    This book was ok.

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