Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, 2020. Hardcover Picture book, 48 pp.
Oh my gosh, Bike & Trike is so much fun. It also has a great story.
Bike & Trike has a flavor of Toy Story, of an old beloved object being replaced by the newer, sleeker version. Trike is already feeling self-conscious about being left to rust in dust, but when the bike with training wheels shows up, he knows it’s over. He’s just a memory of a string of childhood adventures and growing up.
But before he’s completely retired Trike will make sure Bike won’t endanger his human Lulu; that it’s “need for speed” is tempered by Lulu’s newness to the bicycle. Which is why, when Bike makes a bet, Trike can’t refuse and a race is on.
Trike’s sense of humor buoys the melancholy notes of growing up and moving on. And Trike doesn’t go unrewarded—with a new friend in Bike, and a pleasant surprise there at the end.
I’m a fan of Verdick’s Best Behavior and Toddler Tools books (highly recommend them) and I really like her in this older-audience form. Her timing is perfect, for rhyme and humor, energy and engagement. That she partnered with another favorite, Biggs, means a guaranteed appeal in Bike & Trike.
I didn’t consider how difficult it must be to truly animate the inanimate until this book. That moment with the whistle, not whistling, of course (failing to come up with an onomatopoeia there), but yelling “Go, Go, Go!” “Ball pushes the button” to the garage. Biggs gives Bike and Trike personality and posture beyond what we might glean from Verdick’s text. At one point Bike leans over to lend Trike its handlebars so it can get up after a crash. You can picture it literally and imaginatively (translating the animation from page to mind-screen).
Bike & Trike is action-packed and sweet and full of character. The color and movement in story and image are sure to capture the reader’s attention and delight. Its noisy and heart-warming. I love it.
Bike & Trike would be an easy pick if I still did story times at work when I worked at a place that hosted them…
Elizabeth Verdick has written more than thirty books for toddlers to teens. She collaborated with Marc Rosenthal on Small Walt, which Kirkus Reviews called “reminiscent of Virginia Burton’s classics” in a starred review; and its sequel, Small Walt and Mo the Tow. She is a graduate of the Hamline University MFA program and lives in Woodbury, Minnesota.
Brian Biggs is the author and illustrator of many books for kids, including the Tinyville Town books, the New York Times bestselling Frank Einstein series (written by Jon Scieszka), and Everything Goes by Elizabeth Verdick. Brian has worked as an art director, graphic designer, and animator for interactivity and multimedia projects. His illustrations have appeared in magazines, newspapers, advertising, posters, toys, and puzzles. He works in an old garage.