Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Get On Your Bike

Get On Your Bike

Joukje Akveld
Illustrator:  Philip Hopman 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2018   ISBN: 978-0802854896

Bobby and William are having an argument and it is getting more and more heated by the minute. Finally someone says something that they shouldn’t and in the end William tells Bobby, in no uncertain terms, to “get on your bike and leave.”

Fuming, Bobby leaves the apartment, gets onto his bike and he pedals away. He has no idea where he should go. He just pedals, taking the path of least resistance as green lights change in front of him. As he goes straight and then left, Bobby thinks about William and how “pudding-headed” he is.

Finally Bobby comes to a where a ferry is waiting to load up with passengers. He goes on board and waits for the ferry to fill up with all kinds of vehicles. Finally Bobby is no longer thinking about William. Instead, he is thinking about what he will find on the “other side of the water.”

It turns out that the other side is much like where he was before, though it is more open, and more rural. Bobby encounters a peloton of bike riders, he starts to feel hungry, and he also starts to think about the argument that he had with William. Maybe was too hasty. Maybe some of the things William said were not as wrong as they seemed back then.

In this delightful large format picture book, children will meet two friends who have a disagreement. We follow Bobby as he cycles on busy city streets, into the countryside, over bridges, and across intersections. On the richly illustrated pages we see all kinds of vehicles and a LOT of bikes. The journey is a delight to experience, and at the same time we can tell that something is happening to Bobby as he pedals away. Slowly but surely his anger is dissipating, and it is replaced by something quieter and more thoughtful.