Happy Book Birthday to Christina Uss’ The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle!
Ever since she was three years old, Bicycle has lived at the Mostly Silent Monastery in Washington, DC. with Sister Wanda and the mostly silent monks. With Sister Wanda as her teacher, Bicycle excels at her studies and is especially good at making anagrams. On an errand to buy groceries with Brother Otto, Bicycle and the monk see a old orange bicycle for sale in front of the post office. Buying it for less than a dollar, Bicycle brings the two-wheeler home to clean and repair it. She names it Clunk.
Sister Wanda hopes that Clunk will help Bicycle make friends but sadly Sister Wanda’s dream does not come true. Due to Bicycle being a fast cyclist, her chances of making friends is low because no one can keep up with her. Concerned for Bicycle, Sister Wanda decides to send her to sleepaway camp at the Friendship Factory where she is guaranteed to make three friends or your money back. Bicycle has a different idea. Polish cyclist Zbig Sienkiewicz is visiting America for the first time to host a blessing of bicycles. Bicycle desperately wants to travel to California to meet her hero. Sister Wanda will not acquiesce; therefore, Bicycle boldly decides to make the journey to San Franscisco with Clunk to meet Zbig who will become her first and only friend.
On her travels to California, Bicycle befriends a friendly ghost named Griffin who haunts her handlebars, the Cookie Lady, Chef Marie, fried pie making Jeremiah, and Dr. Luck Alvarado. While she hits some bumps in the road (well actually pigs), Bicycle remains focused on proving to Sister Wanda that she can make a friend on purpose. With Clunk out of commission, Bicycle is fortunate to buy a new bike, the Fortune 713-J at an auction except now Bicycle is being followed by a lady in black who she believes wants to steal her new riding companion. So many questions remain. Will Bicycle be able to avert the lady in black? Will she get to San Francisco in time to meet Zbig? Will they become friends? Will Sister Wanda forgive Bicycle for her transgression?
Reading The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle was an exhilarating ride. Debut author Christina Uss’ story of a girl biking towards a solution is equally heartwarming and humorous. While the plot is fantastical, the message is real. As Dr . Alvarado states, “Luck flows around us like a river, but we have our own paddles.” In other words, we have the ability to change where we are headed. Through Bicycle’s journey across the country, readers will discover that while friendships may begin due to some luck, true friendships remain because of two people’s ability to talk, listen, and actually hear each other. And that is a lesson worth learning and remembering.
A very special thanks to Christina Uss for sending an advanced reader’s copy of The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle to my #bookexcursion group.