Kids, Bicycles and Books: A Review of Mike and the Bike & Lucille and the Wheel
Kids and their bicycles should go together like peanut butter and jelly, like popsicles and summer afternoons. Do you remember your childhood bicycle and the places it took you? It may not be that simple for our children as it was for us. Too many of them are more attracted to playing computer games than to being active outdoors, even on a summer day. It takes more effort on a parent’s part to help our children enjoy an active lifestyle and find the joys of cycling. A set of books to read to your young children that gets them excited about bicycling can get them off to a great start.
Michael Ward, who has been a Grammy-award winning guitarist and songwriter (and former member of the Wallflowers) became an avid cyclist, and was inspired to write the children’s book, Mike and the Bike, which was followed by its companion book, Lucille and the Wheel. The books are poetic and fun, perfectly aimed at the 3-5 year old age group. “The whole idea of the Mike & Lucille books,” says George Starks, publisher of the books, “was to make something fun for preschool and kindergarten kids and introduce the concept of bicycling as something fun to do.”
Although the books have a great introduction by Lance Armstrong and are narrated by “Voice of Cycling,” Phil Liggett, their focus was not necessarily on elementary age children who might be old enough to enjoy watching the Tour de France and are old enough to spend more time on their bicycles. It is for that age of children that a new active lifestyle program has been set up on Mike & the Bike’s website: The Mike & the Bike website will not only offer a fun kid-aimed way to follow the Tour de France, but will have a downloadable fitness program meant to inspire children to get outside and have fun bicycling or even walking around their neighborhood. The website also wants to promote a summer reading program and good nutritional habits. A little extra motivation is offered in the form of a downloadable literacy & fitness log for children and their parents to fill in and then enter a special sweepstakes. The prize? A fun day on your bicycle in the park with professional cyclists!
(You can check out the Mike and the Bike website here. The website’s new program promises to be up and online soon!)
Jessie and her children’s Book Review of Mike and the Bike & Lucille and the Wheel
Michael Ward is a musician turned avid cyclist. He has made a huge effort to help engage young children in biking. He wrote Mike and the Bike and Lucille and the Wheel to further the cause. He has worked closely with Lance Armstrong Foundation to help those living with cancer. Lance Armstrong provides the forward for both books.
These two books are fun and my kids really enjoy them. Both books include a CD that has several funky techno songs that kids can song along with. The Mike and the Bike website offers games, activities, information and more for free!
Phil Liggett, “The Voice of Cycling”, narrates both stories. He has commentated 32 Tours de France among countless other cycling events. I loved hearing Phil read the story to me and my kids – he has a voice like no other!
The first book, Mike and the Bike, introduces us to Mike and his beloved bicycle. We follow him as he rides through his town and dreams of all the places his bike can take him. He even goes to bed with his helmet on one night.
Mike and the Bike meet Lucille and the Wheel is the second book and my favorite of the two, by far. Lucille is a longer story and has more substance. In this book Mike meets his new neighbor, Lucille, who also loves to ride. Lucille is very handy when it comes to fixing bikes and she even teaches readers how to change a tire. The book follows the two as they go for a long ride and become fast friends
Overall, I really liked these books and so did my 3 and 8 year old children. It was a bit remedial for my 10 year old but he still enjoyed reading them to his little sister. These books and the activities on the website are geared toward kids Kindergarten through 3rd grade.
If there weren’t enough reasons to love these books on their own, beginning this summer, the Mike and the Bike team is launching a summer program to encourage exercise and learning! There is more information about these programs and how you can earn money for your kids schools on the Mike and the Bike website