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The Broken Bike Boy and the Queen of 33rd Street Hardcover – May 2, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–7—Queen Marie Rousseau is intelligent and capable. She is also bossy and selfish. Spoiled from birth by her father and three older brothers (and somewhat less by her mother) and homeschooled until she was in third grade, Queen has no idea how to relate to her fifth-grade classmates. She doesn't seem able to keep her mouth shut and often treats them with scorn. When a new boy, Leroy, appears in class—smelly, ill-dressed, and claiming he is from Africa—Queen is sure he is lying and becomes determined to prove it. Following him, she discovers that he is running errands for a neighbor, an actor who has developed agoraphobia. Queen bullies Leroy into telling her about Cornelius and tries to talk her way into his apartment. Her high-and-mighty attitude doesn't work with the man—he insists that she solve a complicated riddle and act decently before he will speak with her. So begins Queen's slow and bumpy realization that being pleasant will smooth her relationships with others. She eventually gains entrance into Cornelius's apartment and discovers all the memorabilia he has collected over a lifetime of world travel. And she finds a real friend in Leroy. Flake has created a character who is difficult and unlikable but at the same time sympathetic. Everything is wrapped up a little too quickly, but that will not deter readers from rooting for the child to change her attitude and find her place in the world.—Terrie Dorio, Santa Monica Public Library, CA
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From Booklist

I am a queen. Spoiled, smart, pretty, privileged, and mean, fifth-grader Queen Marie Rousseau has barely a friend at school—even the teacher dislikes her. Things change when she meets her knight in shining armor—the new kid, Leroy. He smells like moldy clothes and rides a rusty, broken bike, but he shows her a whole new world near his neighborhood projects. Queen knows Leroy is a fake when he says he is an African prince from Senegal, but then he brings gold coins and an elephant tusk to school. Are they real? Where did he get them? The mystery is fun, and even though the solution is a bit contrived and message-driven, Queen's arrogant, first-person, present-tense narrative brings readers along as she takes a voyage around the world that changes her. Queen's discovery, We are all from Africa, makes a great climax. Rochman, Hazel

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 590L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Jump At The Sun (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423100328
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423100324
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,193,727 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 5, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I'm probably the laziest person I know when it comes to reviewing books. I'm okay on the reading part, and I'm just ducky at putting a book in my To Be Reviewed Pile. It's at the point when the book merges with the general pile that I tend to get distracted, though. Books get seriously frighteningly buried. I guess that's the danger with a vertical rather than a horizontal pile. Then the mediocre books begin to disappear from my mind. I forget their details and their characters. I can't conjure up a notable scene or moment from them, and then the end of the year rolls around and it's too late to review them anyway. Once in a great while, however, I'll bury a book deep down into my pile and it'll remain in my brain for months on end. Today's example of this is Sharon G. Flake's, "The Broken Bike Boy and the Queen of 33rd Street". I read this book so long ago that I've no clear-cut memory of the time or season anymore. Yet when I plucked it up just now it was if I'd finished it in its entirety only yesterday. Until this book the only Flake title I'd ever read was the mighty YA, Who Am I Without Him?. "Broken Bike Boy", then, proves that Flake's talent for switching genres is rivaled only by her strong characterizations.

It's enough to drive even the most superior member of the royal family bonkers. Queen knows that she's smart. Her father and her older brothers tell her every single day, and she loves correcting her teacher whenever she has the chance. That the kids in her school don't immediately recognize her innate superiority would be tolerable if they didn't all go and actually like nasty old Leroy instead. Leroy stinks and he lies.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Roeshell Robinson on December 11, 2012
Format: Audible Audio Edition
I read this one with my 5th grade son and this was actually a good book for boys too. I was kind of hesitant at first after looking at the cover with the girl but there are some really good points made in this story like not judging people by appearance. I love the way the author shows us how the relationship between the princess and the boy grows from one of dislike to something really special. You should get this book if you want to help your kids understand that even though some of us have more than others, we are all the same and we should always try to help each other.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on August 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Queen is an incredibly stuck up ten-year-old girl whose family's praise has given her a very high opinion of herself. Her father and older brothers have spoiled her to the point where she's very, very easy to dislike. Unsurprisingly, no one at school seems to appreciate or recognize her supposed superiority.

Leroy is a new boy in her class, who smells funny and whose bike is broken. Queen is sure that he's a liar, especially when he tells stories about being royalty from Africa, and she can't stand him. Her parents try to force her to be nice to him, so they are thrown together despite Queen's dislike. Through Leroy, Queen learns some important lessons.

She's still not a very likeable heroine, though. I don't think I was supposed to like her. Be prepared for that going into this book, and you'll be able to appreciate Sharon G. Flake's amazing (and unsurprising if you've read her previous books) talent.

I'm not sure how kids will feel about this book. Some of them may not be willing to read a book with a main character like Queen. But if they can give it a shot, it's a pretty enjoyable short novel.

Reviewed by: Jocelyn Pearce
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