Wild Blue: Taming a Big-Kid Bike
In a charming take on a milestone moment, a young girl summons a cowpoke’s courage to tame her intimidating new bicycle.
Kayla loves riding her pink pony, a three-wheeled bike, up and down the street, day after day. But then Daddy announces that it’s time for a big-kid bike, one with just two wheels. At the store, Kayla selects her mount, but when she tries to ride it, she is thrown—again and again. Can she tame this intimidating set of wheels? Or is the new blue bike just too wild? Tender and relatable, Wild Blue captures the emotions of moving up in the world through an endearing character with a boundless imagination. Despite falls, bumps, and bruises, Kayla takes her time learning the ropes, until she finally has the confidence to let go of her fear, climb back on, and ride again. Her story will delight and reassure readers transitioning from trikes or training wheels and inspire them to manage setbacks with patience and creativity.
Praise for Wild Blue: Taming a Big-Kid Bike
Slater does an excellent job inhabiting that space between imagination and real life that allows two things to be true: Wild Blue can be simultaneously a horse and a bicycle. Hughes’s soft acrylic-ink illustrations capture that space as well: we sometimes see Kayla in a cowboy hat in the company of a large horse, and at other times in a bicycle helmet with her bike. Readers will appreciate Kayla’s commitment to her imaginative life, along with Slater’s twist on the familiar learning-to-ride-a-bike story.
—The Horn Book
A quiet story, this may help young readers who are similarly transitioning their two-wheeled steeds or prepare them for the experience of doing so. . . A new tale with a classic feel that will buoy many young riders.
Through the extended metaphor of taming a wild stallion, an imaginative child describes learning to ride a new bike in this warmly encouraging story. . . aptly captures the thrilling triumph of learning to ride.
Kayla’s “pink pony” (a bike with training wheels) is too small for her now, and it’s time to put it “out to pasture” and find a more suitable steed. Kayla “wrangles” a ride she dubs Wild Blue at the bike shop, but the bike is a huge adjustment from her old one. . . Viewers taking on a daunting new skill may relate to and benefit from Kayla’s imaginative methods.
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
This picture book, in which a girl trades in her training wheels for a daunting two-wheeler, is a subtle but effective demonstration of how exposure therapy can conquer fear. . . . The acrylic-ink illustrations and sunset hues brilliantly enhance the Old West metaphor, as the landscape shifts incrementally from urban to rural. . . a great example of step-by-step learning.
In this understanding picture book by Dashka Slater, we meet a young girl who imagines that her low-slung kiddie bike is a pink pony. . . . There’s a beguiling fluidity in the illustrations (see below) that allows us to see the child’s surroundings both as they are and as her fancy perceives them. . . . Readers ages 3-6 who are nervous about taming their own big-kid bikes will find a heroine to cheer in this heartening and humorous tale.
—The Wall Street Journal