Review by Booklist Review
Elena is a young elephant who is determined to master bike riding. She straps on her lime-green helmet, finds her balance, and begins pedaling. Tongue out in concentration, the indigo pachyderm "wobbles and bobbles" before--"KA-BANG!"--she splats on the ground. Up she gets to try again--and again--always with the quiet encouragement of her red-bird pal. The well-designed beginning reader places expressive, thick-lined illustrations against uncluttered, white-and- yellow backgrounds for a supportive, undistracting reading experience. The text itself is a stimulating mix of rhyme, alliteration, repetition, and onomatopoeia that is playfully printed and positioned on the page in a manner that underscores its meaning. Medina also captures the many relatable emotions Elena feels throughout the story, from excitement and determination to frustration and joy. A fresh, new offering for the Elephant and Piggie set.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
She's eager, she's resilient, she has a two-wheeler and a red feathered friend--but Elena, the enthusiastic purple elephant star of this early reader, still has a ways to go to polish her cycling skills. As the view zooms in, capturing Elena's look of expectant pleasure at donning a green cycling helmet, Medina ('Twas the Night Before Pride) kicks off the elephant's on-the-move story with maximum verve: "Elena wants to ride./ Elena buckles her helmet." Rhythmic couplets and plenty of action verbs reveal what happens next as Elena takes off, tongue sticking out--"she pushes,/ she pedals!// She wobbles,/ and bobbles..."--and meets the first of several disasters: "KA-BANG!" She gets up and tries again, but a second fall hits harder: "Elena cries!/ She bawls!" (Her bird friend puts small wings around Elena's leg.) The next ride gets Elena a little farther, her trunk sticking triumphantly out as she "goes, goes, goes," but there's more action and drama to come before, in a moment of victory, "Elena rides!" Medina captures substantial emotional highs and lows in this inspiring tale of persistence, one that's just right for those taking on another learning curve: reading. A dual English/Spanish edition publishes simultaneously. Ages 4--6. (Mar.)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
PreS-Gr 1--A determined purple elephant named Elena buckles on her helmet and hops on a green bike, but her confidence falters after taking a few falls. Turns out that learning to ride isn't easy, especially if you are a large elephant trying to balance on a small two-wheeler. It helps to have a caring friend--in this case, a little red bird who offers words and winged gestures of encouragement and support. Spare but engaging prose that includes just a few words or simple sentences per page effectively captures the experience of learning to ride: "She readies, she steadies…she pushes, she pedals! She wobbles and bobbles…KA-BANG!" Uncluttered illustrations in bright, bold colors convey a range of emotions from anticipation and excitement to disappointment and determination. Beginning readers may find some of the vocabulary challenging, but rhythmic text and expressive illustrations provide context, making it easier to follow along. Elena's persistence offers an important message to anyone attempting to master a new skill, including those just learning to read. It might take a "ka-bang," a "ka-plunk," and a "ka-rash," but they won't give up. VERDICT This cheerful story with colorful illustrations will appeal to new readers and to parents looking for a read-aloud about perseverance.--Jenny Andrus
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Review by Horn Book Review
Medina (Juana & Lucas, rev. 11/16) gives new readers an inviting, cheerful take on the developmental milestone of learning to ride a bike. Elena, an elephant, straps on her helmet and, with the encouragement of her small bird friend, attempts to ride a Âtwo-wheeler. âeoeKA-BANG!âe ends one ride. âeoeKA-PLUNK!âe ends another. The illustrations use thick lines and bold solid colors to focus readersâe(tm) attention on Elena, the bird, and the bike. The text is minimal, to the point, and appropriate for a new reader, but itâe(tm)s also musical, playful, and fun to read aloud. Elena âeoereadiesâe and âeoesteadies,âe and she âeoewobblesâe and âeoebobbles.âe Repetition of words and sound blends serves the needs of children who are building confidence sounding words out, without bogging the story down. The illustrations and sometimes even text placement support decoding. On one page Elena âeoegoes up and down and all around,âe and we see the corresponding images and text slope up and down the page. After a few tries and some tears, Elena gets the hang of the bike, an apt metaphor for the challenge of learning to read. There are plenty of books about learning to ride a bike, but this oneâe(tm)s approachability for its intended audience, bright imagery, and good humor place it near the front of the peloton. Concurrently published in Spanish as Elena monta en bici, as well as in a bilingual (English/Spanish) edition. Adrienne L. PettinelliMarch/April 2023 p.73 (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
It's never too early to learn to show grit, try again, and "fail better." A cheerful, chunky blue elephant in a small green helmet mounts a two-wheeler. Swirls of bright yellow serve as a spotlight or a horizon against the white of the page. With her tomato-red bird friend on the handlebars, ebullient Elena takes off, ecstatic…but not for long: "KA-BANG!" Her bird fluttering around her, she tries again: "KA-PLUNK!" With support from her bird pal, she tries again. And again. Tears, adamant refusal ("N-O: NO!"), more encouragement, and finally, she's on a roll. Concise text in a large, sans-serif type is direct but includes some reading challenges like buckles, awhile, and bawls. The cartoon-outline, block-color illustrations feature energetic double-page compositions, readable facial expressions, and dynamic changes from close-up to distance (young readers will soon grasp that both cycling elephants on a page are Elena). The restrained typeface gives way to appropriately thick, page-filling brush strokes for every "KA-RASH!" and "KA-BANG!" before the typeface returns with triumphantly enlarged final words: "Elena rides!" Storytime listeners will be enthralled. (This book was reviewed digitally.) Sensational for reading aloud, with dramatic onomatopoeic opportunities aplenty. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.