From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2 As a toddler, Sally Jean rides on the back of her mother's bicycle. She graduates to a tricycle at age two. By age four, she has her own yard-sale bike with training wheels. Those baby wheels come off the next year and she becomes Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen, who rides like a pro on her bike named Flash. By the time Sally Jean is eight, she has outgrown her beloved Flash. Her parents can't afford a new bike, but her neighbor, a junk collector, comes to her rescue. In exchange for cleaning his yard, he gives Sally Jean used parts. Soon she is repairing other kids' bikes, but still doesn't have one of her own until the child comes up with an idea. Davenier's ink-and-watercolor illustrations are light and airy and convey a variety of emotions and delightful details. Sally Jean is a real charmer, and children will appreciate her resourcefulness and tenacity. Pair this terrific book with Bruce McMillan's The Remarkable Riderless Runaway Tricycle
(Apple Island Bks, 1985) or Jim Aylesworth's My Sister's Rusty Bike
(S & S, 1996) for a storyhour with a great deal of flash. Mary Hazelton, Elementary Schools in Warren & Waldoboro, ME
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K-Gr. 2. Thanks to its adjustable seat and handlebars, Sally Jean's bright red two-wheeler, which she calls "Flash," grows right along with its rider. But pretty soon "there was no more room for raising," and no money to buy a bigger bike. At first despairing, resourceful Sally Jean eventually solves the problem using her imagination, advice from a kindly junk shop owner, and her mechanical skills. Sally Jean's DIY inclinations are too subtly implied to support the large role they play in the resolution, and the periodic singsong refrains, though disarmingly zealous, do not always read smoothly ("I'm a plane, I'm a train, / I'm a girl up on a horse. / I'm Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen, / And my bike is Flash, of course!"). But the conclusion is perfectly pitched, and Davenier's spontaneous, ebullient watercolors, reminiscent of the work of Marc Simont, flesh out Sally Jean's world with fond details of neighborhood, family, and friends, and capture the irresistible qualities of a little girl who knows how to make things happen. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved