A Bike Like Sergio's

Sergio has a bike. So do all the other kids. Ruben wants one, too.

Just as Ruben is in line at Sonny's Grocery thinking about money, and how "wishes won't make money appear," money appears. A dollar bill falls out of a blue-coated lady's purse. Sergio doesn't run after her, he pockets it, and it's not until he gets home that he realizes, hands shaking, that it's not a one-dollar bill, it's a hundred-dollar bill, enough for "a bike like Sergio's." The money, now safely in his backpack, is all Ruben can think about, but how would he explain a new bike to his parents? His anxiety escalates when he empties his backpack after school, and the bill is gone. Desperately retracing his steps through the rainy city streets, he realizes "Leaves and money look the same. Rain and tears feel the same." To his great relief, Ruben finds the money in a different backpack pocket and thinks, "I am rich again," but when he later spots the blue-coated lady at Sonny's Grocery, "like a hot blast, I remember how it was for me when that money that was hers--then mine--was gone." This time Ruben does run after her, and when he returns her money, "Her face changes from surprised... to joyful... to soft."

Maribeth Boelts's A Bike Like Sergio's honestly, lyrically captures the heat, sweat and rollercoaster nature of a child's ethical dilemma. Noah Z. Jones's watercolor, pen and ink artwork has a free and sketchy style, expressive and thoroughly charming. A true stand-out from the author-illustrator team behind Those Shoes. --Karin Snelson, children's & YA editor, Shelf Awareness

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