Wild Blue: Taming a Big-Kid Bike

Candlewick. Feb. 2023. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781536215670.
PreS-Gr 2–A child transitions from a three-wheeler to a big-kid bike in this charming celebration of a perennial milestone. Kayla, who wears cowboy boots and hat, loves to ride a pink “pony” aka tricycle, but is told by Daddy that it’s time to switch to a bicycle. The blue stallion proves to be too difficult to tame, with Kayla falling multiple times. Daddy encourages her to show “Wild Blue” who is boss. After some bonding time, including a sweet song Kayla makes up to coax the bicycle, and some courage on her end, the endeavor is successful. The spirited pair are a perfect match. The horse and cowboy extended metaphor is sometimes over the top, but Hughes’s majestic illustrations balance the narrative. The art is done in acrylic ink, using the title’s shout-out blue on every spread. Sweeping images alternate between presenting Wild Blue as a horse and as a child’s first bike, demonstrating the power of young imagination. Kayla’s dad is always in the background, reassuring readers that a grown-up will always be in their corner.
VERDICT A fun picture book for readers making their own big leap and a good choice for early elementary collections.

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