This book makes an excellent choice for cultural studies classes; author Jude Isabella has provided several terrific suggestions in the back of the book for projects large and small, while a map shows the distance the bicycle traveled across the Atlantic Ocean. Award-winning illustrator Simone Shin's digitally composed artwork includes evocative depictions of Alisetta's and Haridata's communities in rural Africa, creating vivid comparisons between Leo's life and their lives. Youngsters will learn how different the world is for those who rely on bicycles as a mode of transportation, and how one ordinary bicycle --- and a child's desire to make a difference --- can change lives across the world. This book also offers an excellent opportunity for expanding character education lessons on caring, compassion and empathy to include the wider world.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-01-26
- Reviewer: Staff
Blending fiction and nonfiction, Isabella (Chitchat) chronicles a bicycle’s long journey as it transforms lives across continents. A North American boy named Leo diligently saves up his money to buy a bike he calls Big Red. After Leo outgrows Big Red, he donates it to an organization that sends needed bicycles abroad. Via truck and freighter, Big Red makes its way to Burkina Faso and a girl named Alisetta, who uses it to aid her family’s sorghum business. When Big Red is damaged in an accident, Alisetta, lacking funds for repairs, donates it to a man who refurbishes it as an ambulance. Rendered in a muted palette, Shin’s rough-textured illustrations capture the joy in the faces of each new caretaker of Big Red. Endnotes provide information about the story’s West African setting and explain how readers can get involved in bicycle-donation efforts. A vibrant introduction to the ripple effects that repurposing tools and objects can have, particularly for readers growing up in a society prone to disposability. Ages 8–12. Illustrator’s agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Mar.)