Ride, Ricardo, Ride!

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Phil Cummings (text), Shane Devries (illus.),   Ride, Ricardo, Ride!,   Omnibus/Scholastic,  1 March 2015,  $24.99 (hbk),  32pp.,  ISBN 9781742990736

Ride Ricardo Ride! is a delightful new picture book showcasing a combination of Cumming’s eloquent prose and Devries’s emotive illustrations. The idea for the story was originally sparked by a true event that occurred in a village somewhere in Europe during World War II.

Ricardo is a care-free young boy who loves to ride his bike through their village. He enjoys being urged on by his father cheering- ‘Ride, Ricardo, Ride!

But the mood changes when ‘shadows’ invade their village.  It is Devries’s clever illustrations that show the ‘shadows’ as silhouettes of marching soldiers. We see Ricardo’s peaceful village thrown into war. It’s no longer safe for Ricardo to ride his precious bike. Secretly, Ricardo’s father comes up with a plan.

I love the clever interplay between the written words and the detailed ochre- toned images in this book.  There are many aspects of this work that will trigger discussions with kids of primary school age and older.  Teachers’ notes are available on the Scholastic website.

Reviewed by Wendy Fitzgerald

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