Maxine Beneba Clarke (text), Van T Rudd (illus.), The Patchwork Bike, Hachette, 25 Oct 2016, 32pp., $26.99 (hbk), ISBN 9780734416681
Fantasy meets ingenuity in this charming, no punches pulled, picture book about a gang of streetwise brothers building and riding their bike by slam poet Maxine Beneba Clarke. It doesn’t matter if you live in a mud house on the edge of ‘no-go desert’ when you have the imagination and energy to make your own fun. Sparse snappy word play is cleverly matched by Rudd’s black naïve outlines, hard dark shadows, and raw paint slapped over cardboard, producing an all over exuberance that sparkles. This book will appeal particularly to boys and may encourage them to branch out into their own creations of word and image. It is a book that encapsulates the self-centred joy of childhood, with its freedom from whatever hardships the adults in their lives might carry. A jagged excited screech of colour bumps the reader over the endpaper corrugations and just makes you want to get out there. Suitable for 4-9 year olds.
Reviewed by Liz Anelli