New Red Bike by James E. Ransome

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In this story, Tom rides his new red bike UP and DOWN and around in CIRCLES. He remembers to keep both hands on the handlebars, and to wear a helmetsafety first! He tries to go see his friend, Sam, and is surprised to get no response. Then suddenly, his bike goes missing! Where did it go? He searches any and everywhere- up and down and all around.

What’s that sound? It’s Sam- riding Tom’s new red bike all around!

Sam apologizes, and then they learn to share and take turns riding that new red bike. To Sam’s surprise, his parents buy him a new blue bike- now they can both ride their bikes together!

 

This book contains points of nostalgia with the familiar looking shoes. The illustrations are realistic but also children- friendly: there’s not too much and not too little. The illustrations are very soft, and there isn’t too much going on in them to distract children from the story.

We also really appreciated the way the authors showcased diversity. Tom is seemingly African-American, while Sam is seemingly Caucasian. When they interact with each other, they are very polite, apologizing when they need to, and taking turns when they need to. Being polite and putting safety first are values that we would want to instill in all children, and this picture book makes it extremely accessible through the metaphor of sharing bikes.

We also really enjoyed how the authors made the theme accessible to their audience by using bikes- many children have had the opportunity to experience getting a new one, riding it around, and sharing it with others. Although there are only males depicted in this picture book, we believe that there are other salient elements that allow it to be accessible to not just the male gender.

This would be a great circle time read, where children can explain and discuss their own experiences when it comes to sharing. This is also a short and sweet read for a bedtime story!

– Ayanna and Miyuki

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