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The Patchwork Bike
Cover of The Patchwork Bike
The Patchwork Bike
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"The words and images in this snapshot story pulse with resourceful ingenuity, joyful exuberance, and layered meanings." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)When you live in a village at the edge...
"The words and images in this snapshot story pulse with resourceful ingenuity, joyful exuberance, and layered meanings." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)When you live in a village at the edge...
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  • "The words and images in this snapshot story pulse with resourceful ingenuity, joyful exuberance, and layered meanings." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
    When you live in a village at the edge of the no-go desert, you need to make your own fun. That's when you and your brothers get inventive and build a bike from scratch, using everyday items like an old milk pot (maybe Mum is still using it, maybe not) and a used flour sack. You can even make a license plate from bark if you want. The end result is a spectacular bike, perfect for whooping and laughing as you bumpetty bump over sand hills, past your fed-up mum and right through your mud-for-walls home. A Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner, this joyous story from Maxine Beneba Clarke, beautifully illustrated by street artist Van Thanh Rudd, is now available as an ebook.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 13, 2018
    Under a “stretching-out sky at the edge of the no-go desert,” a dark brown child with mirrored sunglasses gives readers a tour of a desert village, from “our mud-for-walls home” to “the sand hill we built to slide down.” But the best thing? Soaring out into the sand on the bike the kids have created from cans, discarded wood, and “a bell that used to be Mum’s milk pot.” In her picture book debut, Clarke’s lines sing with sound and rhythm, evoking the “shicketty shake” sound of the bike on sand hills. Street artist Rudd’s textured paint-and-cardboard collages create a strong sense of a place (the blaze and shadow of the desert) and the people who live there: the narrator’s “fed-up mum” in a hijab and robe, and the “crazy brothers” pictured bouncing on a police car, who write “BLM” on the bike’s license plate—a reference to Black Lives Matter, Rudd notes in an afterword. In an author’s note, Clarke writes about her experiences with poverty: “What these times taught me was how to make something out of nothing.” Without minimizing the clear references to economic and racial struggle, the words and images in this snapshot story pulse with resourceful ingenuity, joyful exuberance, and layered meanings. Ages 6–9.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from October 1, 2018

    PreS-Gr 2-In this Australian import, three siblings who live in a remote village "at the edge of the no-go desert" in a "mud-for-walls home," make do with what they have to entertain themselves. They like to run, jump, and climb, but their pride and joy is their bike, which they cobbled together out of spare parts and junk. The handlebars are made of branches, and the wood-cut wheels go "winketty wonk" as they ride, a nice onomatopoetic touch. The story by itself is superb, but the artwork elevates it further. Rudd's street art approach is raw yet refined as nearly every brushstroke is visible on the repurposed cardboard backgrounds. Much like Javaka Steptoe's Radiant Child or Jane Yolen's What To Do with a Box, the format shows the incredible creativity of young minds combined with the constraints of poverty. Rudd not only perfectly matches the tone culturally but also works in a few nods to the Black Lives Matter movement, which he explains in his artist's note. VERDICT An excellent story and conversation starter.-Peter Blenski, Greenfield Public Library, WI

    Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from August 15, 2018
    A daring girl in a desert village enjoys riding her brother's bike made of recycled materials in this unusual picture book by Clarke and political artist Rudd, an Australian import. A young girl with dark skin, cornrows, and shiny sunglasses, wearing shorts, sneakers, and a T-shirt, introduces readers to "the village where we live inside our mud-for-walls home," her "crazy brothers" who dance atop a police car, and her "fed-up mum," who looks elegant in a white hijab and dress. The narrator shows readers the sand hill and the "big Fiori tree" where they play boisterously. "But the best thing of all in our village is me and my brothers' bike." The bike's pieces are composed of a bucket seat, tin-can handlebars, wood-cut wheels, and other spare parts; the flag is a flour sack, and the bell is Mum's milk pot. The license plate--a piece of bark--has "BLM" painted on it, a political statement that echoes an earlier image of the narrator's brothers playing atop a junked police car. It's a rugged ride over sand hills and fields and straight through the home (which perhaps explains why Mum is so fed up), and Rudd's urban artwork is a fitting way to show it. Over a cardboard background, streaks of paint define the people, objects, and movements that make up the girl's world. The kids in motion on their bike are rendered in an artful smear that evokes speed. The dark, bright, and desert hues create a blazing-hot world readers can almost step right into.Showcasing the fun to be had in a spare world, this book is just what many of us need right now. (author's note, illustrator's note) (Picture book. 3-9)

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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    Candlewick Press
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