“Alan, again after carefully calculating and measuring (I never quite figured out where he got all the figures and thought it might have something to do with him being smarter because of the Canadian blood), decided that if you got up to twenty-six miles an hour and angled a ramp to ensure (that’s how he put it, ‘to ensure’) that you got at least seven point six feet into the air, it was possible to do a complete backward somersault and land on your wheels upright. Alan, having gotten at least seven feet in the air after a screaming run down Black Hill, landed exactly, perfectly upside down, bicycle wheels straight up, spinning in a cloud of dust and gravel. And then, after carefully calculating and measuring, and not a little bandaging, Alan raised his hand and said, ‘Aha, my calculations were for a forward somersault, not a backward flip,’ as if it really mattered.
Then Alan again, leaving the ground like a rocket up the ramp, easily eight feet in the air this time, and landing upside down again.” -- from HOW ANGEL PETERSON GOT HIS NAME AND OTHER OUTRAGEOUS TALES ABOUT EXTREME SPORTS by Gary Paulsen
My cool cousin Pamela, the one who turned me on to the Beatles a few years later, was the previous owner of the blue bicycle upon which I learned to ride. I can still remember being over at her house that autumn and having my father, who would have been thirty at the time, running behind me, holding the back of the seat, balancing the bike, yelling, “Pedal! Pedal! Pedal!” until he let go and I wobbled my way down the street for the first time on two wheels.
Learning to ride on two wheels is a major developmental milestone. I look at Chris Raschka’s latest gem, this one about the steps involved in learning to ride a bicycle, and wonder why nobody has previously come up with such a great picture book on a topic that is near and dear to just about everybody at a young age. The amazing thing is -- as Raschka points out at the end of the story – that once you learn to ride on two wheels, it is something that you never forget how to do.
In EVERYONE CAN LEARN TO RIDE A BICYCLE, a patient, helpful, energetic, and enthusiastic parental figure is there to help, encourage, and occasionally pick up the novice rider after gravity has run its course. It takes some trying and some bruises but “by luck, grace, and determination, you are riding.” Like Gary Paulsen’s buddies in ANGEL PETERSON, I grew up to survive some pretty crazy stuff that I attempted on my bicycle. But it all goes back to those first moments of realizing that you can do it, that you ARE doing it. Come on! Come on! Go! 32 pages Ages 4-9 ISBN: 978-0-375-87007-1
Recommended by: Richie Partington, Librarian, California USA
Visit him: Richie's Picks _http://richiespicks.com [email protected]