From School Library Journal
Grade 3-5?In eight fast-paced chapters, Bledsoe tells the story of an African American boy growing up with his practical grandmother and pest of a little sister in Washington, D.C. Since Ernie is turning 10 and is on his way to becoming someone, he feels it's more appropriate that he be called Ernest. Grandmother, who's holding the family together on a "no frills" budget since the children's parents were killed in a car accident, feels Ernie's dreams are merely "delusions of grandeur." Ernest longs for a racing bike for his birthday, but is disappointed and embarrassed by the "huge, clunky, yellow" secondhand one Grandmother is able to afford. Nevertheless, he rides it, and on his first outing meets Sonny, a racer who's never taken first place. Ernie is persistent in persuading Sonny to help him train for the prestigious Citywide Cup juniors race. He garners the respect of his friends as he doggedly trains, and at the same time builds Sonny's self-confidence. Bledsoe blends her intricate knowledge of training and racing into the story as she allows readers to see Ernie's high and low points, concentrating on his upbeat and determined moods. This book would pair well with Cheryl Zach's Benny and the Crazy Contest (Bradbury, 1991).?Christina Dorr, Calcium Primary School, NY
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 2^-4. Ernie's dreams of getting a sleek silver racing bike for his tenth birthday are shattered when he receives a clunky yellow secondhand bike instead. Knowing that its purchase was quite a financial sacrifice for his grandmother, who is raising him, Ernie ignores the laughter of the other kids and sets his sights on winning the junior division of the Citywide Cup. An avid cyclist herself, Bledsoe presents detailed descriptions of the rigorous training process and several bike races. The climactic Citywide Cup race is not as exciting as it might have been. Nevertheless, a strong, dignified portrayal of a loving African American family persevering despite the poverty around them is something not seen enough in mainstream children's literature. Illustrations for this chapter book were not available in galley. Lauren Peterson