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Pedal Power: How One Community Became the Bicycle Capital of the World

By: Allan Drummond

This nonfiction picture book is about the women and children who led the social movement that made Amsterdam the most bike­friendly city in the world. Author's note with photographs. Bibliography. Full-color illustrations.

ISBN: 9780374305277

JLG Release: Jun 2017


Sensitive Areas: None
Topics: Bicycles , Amsterdam, Netherlands , Safety measures , City planning , Maartje Rutten , Community involvement , Demonstrations and protests , Activism

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Awards & Honors

Beehive Award 2019 Nominee Parents’ Choice Award Winner: Nonfiction, Recommended

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal

School Library Journal

Veteran nonfiction children’s author Drummond presents yet another engaging tale about community action leading to change. This title relates how Amsterdam became a world-renowned city of bicycles. Bicycles had always been abundant in the city because they were affordable. But in the 1970s, the economy grew and so did the number of motor vehi Veteran nonfiction children’s author Drummond presents yet another engaging tale about community action leading to change. This title relates how Amsterdam became a world-renowned city of bicycles. Bicycles had always been abundant in the city because they were affordable. But in the 1970s, the economy grew and so did the number of motor vehicles on the roads, while bicycles rapidly became outnumbered. Some people started protesting, including Maartje Rutten. Then, in 1971, Dutch journalist Vic Langenhoff wrote an impassioned article about the more than 500 children who had died that year in traffic and bicycle accidents, including his own daughter. That article roused the entire country to the dangers of mixing bikes and motor vehicles without laws, and the need for regulations to protect cyclists. The persistence of Rutten, other avid cyclists, and community activists, as well as an oil and gas shortage, eventually encouraged political leaders to support city and community bicycle laws. The text is well written, engaging, and concise. Words are scattered throughout the illustrations, enhancing the visual experience. The bright cartoon-style ink and color washes, with flowing lines, create the impression of movement, which is well suited to the subject matter. Appended are an author’s note, a bibliography of additional resources, a short pictorial list of famous cyclists, and a brief pictorial glossary of types of bicycles. VERDICT An intriguing nonfiction picture book to augment the community action section and for casual reading.—Gretchen Crowley, formerly at Alexandria City Public Libraries, VA

Horn Book

Drummond furthers his theme of working toward a greener planet (see, for example, Energy Island and Green City, rev. 1/16) by taking young readers to Amsterdam, a city that turned automobile- and carbon monoxide–clogged streets into bicycle- and family-friendly boulevards. Flashing back to the 1970s, Drummond’s straightforward Drummond furthers his theme of working toward a greener planet (see, for example, Energy Island and Green City, rev. 1/16) by taking young readers to Amsterdam, a city that turned automobile- and carbon monoxide–clogged streets into bicycle- and family-friendly boulevards. Flashing back to the 1970s, Drummond’s straightforward text and near-impressionistic illustrations show readers a city beginning to choke on its own traffic, with the solution seen as the construction of more and more roads and tunnels for automobiles. But citizens, led by activist Maartjie Rutten, wanted to ride bicycles, and they took to the streets in protest. The demonstrations initially have a jovial feel (the text describes them as “great fun”), but the situation turns deadly serious when a child is killed while biking to school (and American readers may note the absence of helmets, not in widespread use in Amsterdam). Although the book nominally focuses on Rutten, it is the activism of a united community that effects change and creates a precedent for worldwide bicycle usage. An author’s note reveals Drummond’s personal interest in his material. Informative and jaunty spot art on both the endpapers and verso of the title page show various bicycles and famous cyclists throughout history. betty carter

Book Details

ISBN

9780374305277

First Release

June 2017

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

388.3/47209492352

Trim Size

10" x 10"

Page Count

40

Accelerated Reader

Level 3.4; Points: 0.5;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 2.5; Points: 3;

Lexile

Level 610L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Potentially Sensitive Areas

None

Topics

Bicycles, Amsterdam, Netherlands, Safety measures, City planning, Maartje Rutten, Community involvement, Demonstrations and protests, Activism,

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