Ladybug Nominee Profile

Ben Rides On by Matt Davies is the story of a boy, his bike, and a bully. It is also a symbolic tale of the author overcoming adversity.
"Illustration comes naturally to Davies—his editorial cartoons won him a Pulitzer Prize in 2004—and this satisfying tale of a boy, his beloved bicycle, and the bully who steals it is a fine debut. When the marvelously lunkheaded Adrian Underbite takes Ben’s bicycle for a joyride and hurtles off a cliff, Ben leans over the edge and sees Adrian clinging to a tiny branch. “How extraordinarily terrible,” Ben thinks, though his toothy grin conveys quite another emotion. But Ben’s conscience smites him, and he goes back to rescue Adrian with results that blend decency and humor. Davies’s figures have string-bean bodies and bobbly heads, and they dash headlong through the spreads. A crow sidekick provides extra mirth: “Hauling the big galoot proved to be a challenge,” Davies writes about the cliff rescue, “but Ben pulled Adrian to safety (with some help from a friend).” The crow appears next to Ben, pulling for all it’s worth; after its magnificent exertion, it topples over, exhausted. A story about doing the right thing that pumps up the laughs and evades smarminess. Ages 4–7." --Publisher's Weekly

Talking about bullying and conscience are obvious followups to this book. You might also consider topics like momentum (consider an experiment using marbles or a demo with skateboards) and bike safety. If you want a craft project consider bicycle decorations.

This is one of the ten titles nominated for the 2014 Ladybug Picture Book Award.

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