Bonnie O’Boy is so excited about her new pink polka-dotted bike that she hops on without asking how to use the brakes. As a result, she goes “all willy-nilly. In fact, she had willy-nillied herself right down the hill.” From there, it’s a long, strange trip, one that includes riding up to the top of the Statue of Liberty, down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and through a scene straight out of Jurassic Park (astute readers will notice that all these adventures and landmarks correspond to real, less intimidating things in Bonnie’s backyard). Through it all, “Bonnie O’Boy could not stop,” but does she panic? Hardly. “Not stopping was thrilling. Not stopping was breathtaking. Not stopping was dangerous.” Although the ending is a letdown given the giddy good times that precede it, Wright’s (Bandits) naïf, acrylic-on-canvas drawings and Proimos’s (Todd’s TV) wry reportorial style strike the right notes of silliness and exhilarating independence. Bonnie’s wide-mouth grin should be an inspiration and impetus to anyone contemplating putting away the training wheels. Ages 3–5. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (June)
From the Publisher
"So inviting that children who do not ride a bicycle yet will wish they could have their first ride in such a welcoming place." — Horn Book
"A fun-filled take on a familiar childhood milestone." — Kirkus Reviews
"Wright's naif, acrylic-on-canvas drawings and Proimos's wry reportorial style strike the right notes of silliness and exhilarating independence. Bonnie's wide-mouth grin should be an inspiration and impetus to anyone contemplating putting away the training wheels." — Publishers Weekly
"Whimsical, childlike art adds a visual twist for kids to appreciate...A refreshing change from typical books about kids learning to ride a bike, and youngsters will respond to Bonnie's enthusiastic approach." — Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books
"So inviting that children who do not ride a bicycle yet will wish they could have their first ride in such a welcoming place."
Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books
"Whimsical, childlike art adds a visual twist for kids to appreciate...A refreshing change from typical books about kids learning to ride a bike, and youngsters will respond to Bonnie's enthusiastic approach."
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Bonnie O'Boy can't wait to get a bike. When she receives one, she takes off on it before she learns how to ride it or, more importantly, how to stop. It looks as if she rides over bridges, mountains, and elephants. She is shown riding through rain, windstorms, and even the legs of a giraffe. Then it's to the top of the Statue of Liberty and the bottom of the Grand Canyon and past the Giant Cheese. She still cannot stop. The scene switches back to the girl's yard and family and readers realize that the trip was all wishful thinking. As her brother yells, "Watch out for that truck!" she stops short of the toy by tipping over and skinning her knee. Now she has time for the lessons, after which she spends the next week riding safely with a helmet. She stops to smell the roses, literally, as she's shown on a pink page with a row of giant pink roses. And she has a secret wish… now she wants a pony. The illustrations are done in acrylic with ink outlines. The stylized people have very skinny arms and legs with oversize heads. The landmarks are cartoon renditions of the depicted places and things. A fun, instructive read.—Ieva Bates, Ann Arbor District Library, MI
Bonnie O'Boy's dream comes true when she gets a bike and then must learn an important part of riding it: how to stop. The title of Proimos' novel for teens, 12 Things to Do Before You Crash and Burn (2011), is only tangentially related to this picture-book offering, in which Bonnie crashes after failing to heed Mother's warning: "You can't just go ride all willy-nilly." Willy-nilly she goes, and ensuing spreads imaginatively depict her riding over bridges, mountains, elephants and more, and she simply cannot stop. Although it may strike some as odd that Bonnie needs no practice (let alone training wheels) to balance, they'll enjoy connecting the aforementioned fantasy scenes of the bridge, mountains, elephant, etc., with toys and other backyard landmarks. Luckily, she only crashes into her little brother Charley's building project. Her parents comfort her, her father helpfully saying, "Here are the brakes," and in a pictorial nod to safety, Bonnie dons a helmet. Meanwhile, Charley rebuilds his play farm, and Bonnie again sets off around the yard. Throughout, Wright's acrylic-and-ink illustrations employ a colorful, naive style to capture the exuberance of Bonnie's first bike ride, while promising that although this initial taste of two-wheeled freedom may be the "best," there are many joyful rides in store--perhaps astride her next secret wish: a pony. A fun-filled take on a familiar childhood milestone. (Picture book. 4-6)