The Young Cyclist’s Companion – at a glance
The School Reading Lists’ five word review: bright, informative, comprehensive useful KS2.
Children’s book title: The Young Cyclist’s Companion.
Children’s author: Peter Drinkell.
Children’s illustrator: Thomas Slater.
Genre: Children’s nonfiction.
Published by: Cicada Books.
Recommended for children aged: 7-12.
First published: Hardback April 2021.
This children’s book is ideal for: children who are planning to ride a bike this summer or take a cycling proficiency course at school.
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With a clever blend of introductory explanation and more in-depth tips for budding enthusiasts, this comprehensive hardback guide to owning and riding a bicycle will appeal to a wide range of children in KS2.
The brightly illustrated, informative and easy to read chapters cover choosing a bike, how to maintain a bike, basic and more advanced cycling techniques; and finally, a section called “stepping it up a gear”, designed to offer pathways to more advanced cycling in groups and races, and advising on what kit and gear might help a rider develop.
The information is well presented using a range of forms. With a contents page, timelines, cutaway and spider diagrams, labelling and annotations, radial charts, bullet points, numbered lists, fact boxes, captions, headings, subheadings, and a glossary and index, this is a useful text to use for teaching how to set out non-fiction information writing.
The sections on bike maintenance, cleaning, road safety, what to do if you have an accident, hand signals, and how to go downhill safely are practical and particularly relevant to KS2 children taking cycling proficiency courses.
There’s also plenty to encourage wider reading and research or to inspire a personal project. There are sections that explain more advanced aspects of cycling, such as group riding, a peloton, drafting, grand tours, track cycling and cyclo-cross. These are peppered with interesting facts and quotes from inspirational figures in the sport such as Sir Chris Hoy.
It’s not all dry information either – there’s a fun element both in the bright page designs, funky cartoon characters and the chapters on wheelies and bunny hops.
With many schools organising cycling proficiency courses in the second half of summer terms, as well as the uptake in cycling since lockdown, The Young Cyclist’s Companion is an excellent addition to KS2 libraries and highly recommended for budding cyclists aged 7-11.
Many thanks to Cicada Press for the review copy.
If you like The Young Cyclist’s Companion by Peter Drinkell you might also like: Britannica All New Children’s Encyclopedia edited by Christopher Lloyd, Happy Healthy Minds by The School of Life, 101 Awesome Women Who Transformed Science, I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast by Michael Holland, The World’s Most Magnificent Machines by David Long and our list of topic books for KS2.