Bike On, Bear! by Cynthea Liu, illustrated by Kristyna Litten

Bike On, Bear! written by Cynthea Liu and charmingly illustrated by Kristyna Litten is a fantastic new book about the childhood milestone of learning to ride a bike. And as a former bookseller, I can tell you  that there just aren't enough good picture books about this important event in almost every kid's life. 

Bear has a very hairy problem. He is smart, flexible and industrious. He does gymnastics, participates in the science fair and is there for his friends whenever they need him. Despite all this, Bear just can't learn to ride a bike! Not even a bike with training wheels! When a new park opens up with superb new bike paths that DO NOT allow training wheels, Bear knows he needs to try something new. 

Bear's very wise mother suggests that he visit the library to find a book on how to ride a bike. He follows all four steps, especially the fourth, "Don't think about it too much," but he still has no joy. Bear's inability to learn to ride a bike eventually begins to affect other areas of his life and he is on the verge of giving up. That is, until he is passing the brand new park on a very blustery day and hears cries for help. Bear's brain kicks in, runs some calculations, and he hops on a nearby bike, his body doing what it needs to do! Success is his, in more ways than one.

Bike On, Bear! takes a common challenge and weaves a great story around it. Litten's illustrations are rich with cool blues and bright yellows and filled with soft, rounded animals that will appeal to audience members who are just of the age to learn to ride a bike. Best of all, Liu tucks in that twist at the end of a picture book that I always love! After bike riding success and accolades all around, the narrator tells readers that "Bear could do practically anything." A page turn reveals the words, "Except maybe . . ." and the illustration shows Bear in a boat out on a lake, pawing the waters, his friends swimming all around him.

Source: Review Copy

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