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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Ellery's Magic Bicycle by Maria Monte and Zoe Saunders is a touching story of friendship between a young girl and her magic purple bicycle. One day, a young girl named Ellery finds an old purple bicycle. This bicycle seems to be capable of independent thought as it shakes off its mud, dirt, and rust and playfully circles around Ellery. This encounter becomes the start of a beautiful friendship, as the bicycle teaches Ellery the rudiments of cycling and how to balance. They spend many afternoons together. Time passes and as Ellery grows bigger, the bicycle magically grows bigger as well to conform to her size and weight. Time marches further, and a new neighbor moves in - Ellery meets Charlie. The three will become close friends, but there will be heartaches for Ellery along the way, and she is thankful that her bike is always by her side. The passing of time, however, has more challenges to throw at their friendship.
I forgot about my old bicycle a long time ago, and Ellery’s Magic Bicycle reminded me so that I waxed nostalgic. This is a good story that involves the emotions a child feels about her bicycle. It will remind you of Toy Story 2 where Jessie the Cowgirl develops abandonment issues after the little girl who owns her grows up and donates her to charity. The only difference is that this magic bicycle has a more compassionate owner. Similarly, in comparing this storybook to The Giving Tree, I take my hat off to Maria Monte for putting a greater sense of compassion and gratitude into the tale. Ellery and her bicycle do not simply have a selfish give and take relationship. They have a strong social bond that has been reinforced and rekindled by the arrival of Ellery’s child. Zoe Saunders’ illustrations are worthy of mention, giving the story the necessary visual dramatization that aids its target readers to better absorb the message. I highly recommend this book to parents and educators for its themes, which will make an excellent topic for group discussions with kids.