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Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude Hardcover – April 1, 2005

79 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Gr. 3-5. A girl and a boy create a fairy tale in this lively picture book. The girl starts first, with a story about a princess and her eight ponies, while the boy interjects comments: "Please . . . don't call [the pony] Buttercup." When the boy has had enough, he steps in with a sword-wielding, motorcycle-riding hero who battles a giant, while the princess is assigned the boring job of making thread. Fed up with these developments, the girl delivers the final plot twist, turning her princess into a warrior who sends the giant scurrying back to his cave. The fun in this picture book comes in the contrasting styles of the illustrations, which include contributions from Carol Heyer and Scott Goto. The girl's story features bright colors, flowers, and long golden locks, while the boy's story is done in the dark, taut-muscled style of comic books. Throughout, O'Malley depicts the girl and the boy^B reacting to the twists of the plot. A funny take on the age-old battle of the sexes, with an ending suited for the new millennium. Todd Morning
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From the Inside Flap

Once upon a time there was ... a princess who loved all her beautiful ponies, a cool muscle dude who rode an awesome motorcycle. But a giant came and started stealing them! The dude came to fight the ugly, smelly giant with his mighty sword. She turned gold into thread while she cried for Buttercup, her favorite pony. And he took the princess's gold thread for payment The end!

Wait a minute! That's not how it ends!

Oh no?

Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl who had to tell a fairy tale to the class, but they couldn't agree on the story. Will everyone live happily ever after?

During the first ten years of Kevin O'Malley's life, he didn't care about the difference between girls and boys. Over the next ten, he found out that there was a big difference. After ten more years (and marriage), Kevin discovered that the difference is really, really huge. Another ten years and two children later, Kevin wrote Once Upon A Cool Motorcycle Dude. He still has no clue about girls.

Carol Heyer used to argue with the boys in her class about important things like princesses and giants, so she enjoyed collaborating on this dueling boy and girl story. Now Carol is a full-time writer and illustrator whose books have sold over a million copies.

Scott Goto thinks illustrating a story about a dude who battles giants with a bike and a big sword is the perfect way to start the day. However, the only bike he has is pedal powered, and he fought a giant once in school and got squashed. But he does own a big sword.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 550L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Childrens; 1St Edition edition (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802789471
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802789471
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.4 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Materexlibris on May 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I am an elementary school librarian and read this book to sophisticated sixth graders. They laughed out loud, and demanded an immediate second reading. The story is told in two alternating voices, and with each turn one story teller tries to trump the other. The illustrations are eye-popping and dazzling.

We followed the read-aloud, with a stab at our own creation by alternating boy and girl voices. Our story ended with a pop star performing at the Oscars wearing a designer dress laced with itching powder.

If you are a librarian, you will want multiple copies for your collection. If you are a classroom teacher, you will want one to stimulate storytelling. And, if you have a reluctant reader, s/he will gobble this one up.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Gardner on June 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is my first review, but my sons (5- and 3-yrs old) are such big fans of this book that I felt compelled to share. The unconventional format in which this fairy tale type story is told, with the competing boy and girl narrators, coupled with the variety of illustation styles to complement who is narrating at the time make this a favorite bedtime book. Also the way it is written makes it fun for me to read, which is good, seeing as I've read so many times. All around a FUN, FUN book to share with your kids.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Shanshad VINE VOICE on February 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
So here I am wondering what to read to my jaded fifth graders. They don't go in for the ultra serious, they yawn through the books beloved of second and third graders. They groan when I mention poetry or nonfiction. And then this book falls into my lap. One read through and I'm hooked--and so is my fifth grade audience! Kevin O'Malley has brilliantly joined artistic forces with Carol Heyer and Scott Goto to create a book that is a commentary on story telling, the battle of the sexes, and a great graphic novel picture book yarn!

The premise of this tale is easy to absorb; two characters, a boy and a girl (probably classmates at school) are telling the readers their own made up fairy tale. Each takes a turn at the story, and offers commentary on their partner's part of the tale. The girl starts off with a flowery story of a princess and her ponies and the giant that comes and steals the ponies away. No prince seems up to the challenge. At this point, our male narrator has become heartily sick of the way the story is being told and takes over the narrative. No prince may be up to beating the giant, but a motorcycle-riding Dude with a sword just might be able to win the day. The boy continues on with his tale of action and adventure and finishes off the tale--leaving the princess doing nothing but spinning gold thread. The female narrator has her own idea of how the story should end, and it takes some work for the two to come together on an ending that satisfies them both and delights listeners. The narrative is broken into actual story text, and dialog bubbles, combining traditional picture book style with graphic novel sensibilities.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Emily J. Morris VINE VOICE on September 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have not yet read this to my class, but personally I loved it and will appreciate it just for myself if need be. This hysterical picture combines an amazing author/illustrator and two more illustrators to celebrate the difference between boy and girl thought processes. Maybe they're a little typical, but I've been around enough kids to know there is a lot of truth.

A boy and a girl, partners for a class project, are supposed to retell their favorite to the class. However, they could not agree on a story, so they decide to instead tell their own, combining the adventures of a sweet princess and a muscle-bound guy on a motorcycle. The two sides of the story play off of each wonderfully as the kids banter.

Not only is it funny and all three illustration styles fantastic, but it's a clever exercise in voice. Even the fonts change.

This is a delight to read. I can't wait to share it with my class.

I have since read this to my class. This is the second book in three years of teaching where my class demanded a reread immediately after the book was finished.

I made the mistake of loaning it to another teacher. My class nearly rebelled when it wasn't on their shelf for their own perusing.

Yes, 1st grade age can appreciate this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joe Mama on November 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book won the North Carolina Children's Book Award in 2007 (students vote for the winning book from a list developed by children's librarians). I read it to my Pre-K through 3rd grade classes when it was a nominee--they ALL loved it. (I'd have read it to grades 4-6 if I'd had the chance!).

So when I went on a librarian interview and had to give a 5-minute presentation at the end, I knew what I'd do--a read-aloud of Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude. I had to present to about 6 adults--both librarians and non-librarians (Human Resources, etc.) I know it went beyond the 5 minutes and I stopped partway through to double-check, but they wanted me to keep going. At the end, they immediately asked the children's librarian if they had that book in their collection. I then became the top candidate for the job, too!

I'm going to a conference to meet author Kevin O'Malley--I can't wait!

Child-recommended, librarian-recommended. Buy this book!
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