The Girl and the Bicycle

( 1 )

Overview

From the creator of The Boy and the Airplane, a touching wordless picture book about a little girl, a shiny bicycle, and the meaning of persistence—with an unexpected payoff.

A little girl sees a shiny new bicycle in the shop window. She hurries home to see if she has enough money in her piggy bank, but when she comes up short, she knocks on the doors of her neighbors, hoping to do their yardwork. They all turn her away except for a kindly old ...

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Overview

From the creator of The Boy and the Airplane, a touching wordless picture book about a little girl, a shiny bicycle, and the meaning of persistence—with an unexpected payoff.

A little girl sees a shiny new bicycle in the shop window. She hurries home to see if she has enough money in her piggy bank, but when she comes up short, she knocks on the doors of her neighbors, hoping to do their yardwork. They all turn her away except for a kindly old woman.

The woman and the girl work through the seasons, side by side. They form a tender friendship. When the weather warms, the girl finally has enough money for the bicycle. She runs back to the store, but the bicycle is gone! What happens next shows the reward of hard work and the true meaning of generosity.

Wordless, timeless, and classic, The Girl and the Bicycle carries a message of selflessness and sweet surprises and makes an ideal gift for graduations and other special occasions.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
02/17/2014
As in The Boy and the Airplane, Pett’s sepia-tinted drawings draw little attention to themselves in this companion book, quietly supporting his wordless story in a way that allows it to unfold smoothly. The girl of the title, often seen with her younger brother in tow, spots a bicycle in the window of a toy store and resolves to buy it. In a moment typical of Pett’s understated comedy, she thinks hard about how to earn enough money while her brother sits on the floor with the family cat on his head. The girl knocks on doors and finds an older woman living alone; together, they do yard work through the winter and into the spring. When at last she goes to buy the bicycle, it’s gone. In a moment that would be saccharine if not made credible by the story’s Jimmy Stewart–esque underpinnings, she uses the money to buy her brother a tricycle (Her hard work doesn’t go unacknowledged, though.) It’s not easy to celebrate simple virtues in an age of irony, but Pett succeeds. All ages. Agent: Kerry Sparks, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-29
A girl spies a gleaming bike in a shop window and decides to earn enough money doing yardwork to buy it. This wordless, retro book (the girl's molded curls, turtleneck, plaid skirt and Mary Janes definitely come from another era) champions both grit and kindness, but it seems mighty bleak at times. Moody cement-gray papers, nearly colorless illustrations and a cast of cold adults make the girl's determination and her working relationship with one kind neighbor all the more moving. Much of Pett's engrossing narrative is relayed through characters' limbs, eyes and brows, as many times they simply don't have mouths. The blank effect of a face without a smile, smirk or frown carries unexpected weight, delivering a sense that the character struggles to withhold or manage emotions. And talk about emotions! After working for the same spectacled lady for months earning money raking, planting and cleaning, the girl rushes to the store only to find her bike already sold. Many young readers may reel just imagining such staggering disappointment and be further boggled by her angelic decision to purchase a tricycle for her small brother instead. Never fear, a Capra-esque ending awaits. Like an old black-and-white movie, this companion to The Boy and the Airplane (2013) will remain charming and relevant—the old story about what you get when you give never really gets old. (Picture book. 4-6)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
No words are needed to tell the story of the girl and the shiny green bicycle. While walking with her little brother, she spots it in a store window. She rushes him back home where she counts her money, searches for more, and then tries raising some. Noting the falling leave, she helps her mother rake them, then joins in house cleaning, snow shoveling, and planting the garden. By then, she has earned enough money to rush to the store with her brother. But the green bicycle is gone. So she buys a tricycle for her thrilled brother and goes sadly home. There a happy surprise awaits her. The visual tale is told with pencil and watercolor on tan or gray backgrounds in shades of brown and black, with the green bike the only touch of color. The naturalistic characters lack details. They are set in little minimal backgrounds with just necessary objects included. Small-sketched bicycles fill the end pages. Note the contrasting jacket and cover of this heart-warming story. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz; Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
04/01/2014
K-Gr 3—On a walk with her brother, a girl spies a beautiful bicycle in a store window. Determined to buy it, she counts her pocket money, hunts for loose change, and sets up a lemonade stall. When it's still not enough, she does odd jobs for an older neighbor until, over the course of many months, she save up the needed sum. Rushing to the store, she discovers the bicycle has been sold. Thankfully, two acts of kindness—from her neighbor and from the girl to her brother—give this charming wordless picture book a happy ending. The book has a retro appearance, with its sepia tint and line drawn cartoon characters. Women on the street wear hats and fur coats, and the men wear hats, suits, and ties. The only color in the illustrations is the green bicycle. This simple story has a lot to recommend it and offers much to discuss. Saving pocket money, doing extra chores to earn cash, and delaying gratification are all worthy themes. Discussing the girl's possible emotions, which are not always clear from her facial expressions (she's sometimes drawn without a mouth) and predicting what she will do next are also ways an adult can elicit discussion and build children's comprehension and speaking skills. A good addition for public and school libraries where staff actively promote choices that are not always obvious.—Michelle Anderson, Tauranga City Libraries, New Zealand
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442483194
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 4/29/2014
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 143,286
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Pett

Writer and illustrator Mark Pett has practiced his craft in Philadelphia, Prague, the Mississippi Delta, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition to illustrating several books, Mark is the “authorstrator” of The Boy and the Airplane and The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes. He is also the creator of the syndicated comic strips Mr. Lowe and Lucky Cow. He lives in Salt Lake City. Visit him at MarkPett.com.

Writer and illustrator Mark Pett has practiced his craft in Philadelphia, Prague, the Mississippi Delta, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition to illustrating several books, Mark is the “authorstrator” of The Boy and the Airplane and The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes. He is also the creator of the syndicated comic strips Mr. Lowe and Lucky Cow. He lives in Salt Lake City. Visit him at MarkPett.com.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 10, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    No written words but a great book about determination and persis

    No written words but a great book about determination and persistence. Yes, she wants that green bicycle and yes, she will work hard to do it. Walking by a store window, a little girl eyes a green bicycle which she decides she wants. Breaking into her piggy bank at home, it’s decided she does not have enough money to buy it so off she goes to hunt down any stray change that she can find. After selling her toys and some lemonade she still doesn’t have enough, so she’s off to market herself to her neighbors raking their leaves. One neighbor has leaves to rake plus other jobs to keep her earning money for her bike. Arriving at the store with all her hard-earned money, the girl is surprised at she finds. It’s the brown pages of the book with the penciled drawings which is offset with the green bicycle that highlights the importance of the story. I read the book a couple times, one time just watching the facial expressions of the characters, which was interesting.

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