Storytime Recommendations with Mrs. Smith: ‘The New Bicycle’

February 23, 2024

What do books and bikes have in common (besides starting with the letter B)? They both can provide a magical, mystery adventure for the young and young-at-heart. And that’s exactly what happens in the book, The New Bicycle.

A dark-haired, young girl named Mari, all dressed in red, sets out on her “new bike, a bigger bike,” one that’s “bright, bold, and brimming with possibilities.” Her black bike has a bell and two baskets. Her pet dog Buddy sits in the front basket; the back basket is reserved for new discoveries found along the way. 

The New Bicycle was written and illustrated by Darcy Day Zoells. To make the engaging illustrations for this witty and whimsical picture book, she used mixed media which included watercolors, pens and ink, pencils, and digital tools. 

With cleverly-detailed drawings paired with lyrical yet simple text, readers can ride along through Mari’s imagination (and their own) as she peddles around her neighborhood and beyond. While finding endless and exotic places to explore, she encounters sights and sounds, meets new friends, and totes her treasures. When she returns home, she experiences a new-found sense of awareness, curiosity, and freedom.

Darcy Day Zoells is an illustrator and a writer of prose and poetry. She graduated from Northwestern University where she studied art history and studio art. She also ran a visual literacy program in a K-5 school for 10 years. Zoells lives in Chicago, Illinois. Check out her website to see the myriad works she has created (https://www.darcydayzoells.com).

The New Bicycle was the Gold Medal Winner of the 2022 Key Colors Competition, a biennial national contest which honors exceptional illustrators of children’s book. This award has been given by Clavis Publishing since 1996.

Because this book is recommended for young explorers (ages 4 to 7), Doris thought this might be a good book for her to share with the two little boys who live across the street from her. They shared the story and looked closely at the illustrations. When she asked them if they liked the book, they gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up. Perhaps someday soon, she will see them go off on a journey of their own on their bicycles. She shares a heart-felt thank you to her young book critics.

There is also a Spanish edition: La Bicicleta Nueva.

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Doris Smith is an Arts and Cultural Reporter for The Bedford Citizen. She was supported by a grant from the Bedford Cultural Council from December 2022 - June 2023.

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