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Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 4 months ago

7 February 2024 PEDAL, BALANCE, STEER: ANNIE LONDONDERRY,THE FIRST WOMAN TO CIRCLE AROUND THE WORLD by Vivian Kirkfield and Alison Jay, ill., Astra/Calkins Creek, February 2024, 40p., ISBN: 978-1-63592-682-8 


I want to ride my bicycle, bicycle, bicycle

I want to ride my bicycle

I want to ride my bike

I want to ride my bicycle

I want to ride it where I like

— Queen (1978) 


“Times were tough. When Annie heard that two rich businessmen were going to pay ten thousand dollars to the first woman who pedaled around the world, she knew she had to try.”


The contest deadline for making it around the world was set at 15 months. In succeeding in completing the circumnavigation of the globe in time to win the prize money, Annie had some impressive adventures. And on more than one occasion, she seriously trashed her body in crashes and other mishaps. It’s a very interesting adventure story. And get this! When she entered the contest, she had never once sat upon a bicycle!


But the reason I’m even more head over heels on this one is that I love Alison Jay’s illustrations. She has always had a very recognizable, distinctive style. Alison works in Alkyd paint, which is a quick drying oil paint. She sometimes then coats the illustrations with layers of varnish to give the aged crackled effect. I love the landscapes and outdoor scenes throughout this around-the-world challenge and the thrill of victory tale. 


I’ve been a fan of Alison’s illustration, going back to one of my all-time favorite board books, the 2008 lyrical WHEN I TOOK THE MOON FOR A WALK.


“I took the Moon for a walk last night

It followed behind like a still summer kite

Though there wasn't a string or a tail in sight

When I took the Moon for a walk


I carried my own light just in case

The Moon got scared and hid its face

But it peeked through clouds fragile as lace

When I took the Moon for a walk…”


PEDAL, BALANCE, STEER is a super cool feminist story with stellar illustrations. I think it’s a winner.


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com





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