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Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen Hardcover – April 18, 2006

21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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 Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Lexile Measure: 800L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (April 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374363862
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374363864
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.4 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cari Best grew up in New York City in an extended European family dominated by confident, beautiful women who loved to talk. As a result, she became more comfortable with the written word as opposed to the one spoken.

A graduate of the City University of New York, she also received a Master's Degree in Library Science from Drexel University, landing a job as the first librarian at the newly built headquarters of the International Reading Association in Newark, Delaware. She served as Editorial Director at a film company for 18 years while raising three children, numerous dogs and seeing the world.

Many of Cari Best's picture books depict real life problems and joys that children encounter: disappointment, shyness, bullying, learning to ride a bike, bake a pie, celebrate a loved one's special day - and show a realistic and satisfying outcome in each case, creating a sense of hope and accomplishment.

Cari Best lives in Connecticut where she walks, gardens, laughs and reads a lot.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Henrich on July 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is my 3 year-old's current favorite - it's got it all: Bike riding action, singing (we made up tunes to the rhymes), construction, drama...sharing. Lots of fun; it's the most requested bedtime reading, by far. We originally got it from the library, but have decided to invest in a copy of our own. If your child is a bike-riding fan, this book is a must-have.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Redheaded Runner on March 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I'm not sure if it was the illustration of a red-headed girl on the cover that called to me (I am one of 3 red-heads living in my house, after all), or the captivating title that urged me to get this book. Whatever the reason, we are all glad to have it in our home - this book is WONDERFUL!

We follow Sally Jean from her earliest years when she was perched in the kid seat on her mother's bike to her confident, independent years when she worked to build herself a new bike. Best's use of patterns make the book a delightful read for my kids (4.5 and 2).

In the beginning we see Sally Jean waving from behind her mom, or on her tricycle or on her "yard-sale bike with two small wheels that hugged the ground". In all these instances, we're treated with Sally Jean's optimism and delight for riding with the same simple phrase. '"Hi!" she said to the big kids on their bikes."

My son cheered for her when she finally develops the skills to count herself among the ranks of two-wheel riders. '"Wait for meeee!" she called to the big kids on their bikes."

As a former little girl, I find myself drawn to the optimistic energy and celebration of outdoor adventure in Sally Jean. Davenier's illustrations more than capture the joy that Sally Jean finds in life. I can almost see myself in them, despite the fact that bike riding was a tumultuous and difficult skill for me to learn (we lived at the bottom of a hill right off a main drag . . . not fabulous for kids to enthusiastically acquire the skills!). In fact, this book almost erases those memories of apprehension - now I can live vicariously through a fellow-redhead. That's the magic of books, right?

As a mother, I see Sally Jean as a positive role model (and even heroine!) for my children.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By kt94 on April 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
My favorite children's book author, Cari Best captures the independence and creativity of children with her wonderful language. I'd been waiting for this book to be released and I certainly wasn't disappointed! My five year old declared -- I love this book!
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By Nana Nancy on April 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I ordered this book it reminded me of my Grandkids. Their parents are always picking up bikes from garage sales, and changing out parts as they grow. I thought it would be nice if they understood that they were not the only kids out there they liked to build their own bikes. I think this helped them understand that you don't have to have a shinny new bike to enjoy riding bikes. The two older kids (5&6) have handed down their bikes to their younger brother (3), just like in the book. Sally Jean was very enthusiastic about finding parts for her bike and showed a real enjoyment in building a new bike. Good lesson for young kids.
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Format: Hardcover
I loved the story, so did my daughter. But she is going into 1st grade this fall and couldn't read this on her own, like she can with other K-2 books. It's got a lot of expressions that she didn't understand (the round of mama's back; a yard-sale bike; her feet hit the pedals like two snap-together blocks; you're growing faster than a dandelion in the spring) so when she read out loud to me, she lost interest FAST. However, when I read it to her, she loved it.
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By Jan on November 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got this book for my friend's kids. They are ages 3 and 5. The kids and parents love this book. This is a great addition to any library, but especially for families who ride. Thanks Amazon for this great recommendation. Another great recommendation that the kids love just as much as Gracie Goat's Big Bike Race - it got one of the kids to take off the training wheels and gave her enough confidence to get her ears pierced!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My daughter and I love this book. Sally Jean is a mechanic, an entrepreneur, and an avid cyclist. She even gives away her old bike to another kid. She is a great role model for little girls.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
She has energy. She is industrious. She is generous. She can solve problems. And she loves to ride bikes. Children should learn to love bicycles and Sally Jean is the Queen.
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