Hero on a Bicycle

Hero on a Bicycle

Featured
 
4.8 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
1755   0
Write Review
Hero on a Bicycle
Publisher
Age Range
10+
Release Date
May 03, 2013
ISBN
9781406336108
Buy This Book
      

Italy, 1944: Florence is occupied by Nazi forces. The Italian resistance movement has not given up hope, though — and neither have thirteen-year- old Paolo and his sister, Costanza. As their mother is pressured into harboring escaping POWs, Paolo and Costanza each find a part to play in opposing the German forces. Both are desperate to fight the occupation, but what can two siblings — with only a bicycle to help them — do against a whole army? Middle-grade fans of history and adventure will be riveted by the action and the vividly evoked tension of World War II.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.8
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.5  (2)
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0  (1)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0

Great MG Historical Fiction

HERO ON A BICYCLE by Shirley Hughes is a middle grades novel set in 1944 in Florence, Italy and its surrounding area. The title character, Paolo Crivelli, is a thirteen-year-old boy who sneaks out at night to ride his bike into the city in an effort to escape the boredom of wartime. On one of those nighttime rides, Paolo is stopped by members of the Italian resistance, called the Partisans, and asked to deliver a message to his mother, and suddenly things aren't quite as dull at home anymore.

HERO ON A BICYCLE is a tightly written third person tale that allows readers to get into the heads of Paolo, his sixteen-year-old sister, Constanza, and his mother, Rosemary. Paolo and Constanza's father, Franco, is suspected of being a Partisan, and Franco has left home and gone into hiding to protect his wife and children. Despite his absence, his character plays an important role as many of the decisions made by the remaining Crivellis are based on what they think he would want them to do, and Paolo, of course, wants to be like his dad and fight against the Nazis who are occupying Florence.

Hughes does a great job showing the many sides of war. The book is packed with action, but it also shows the deprivation and tedium that comes with war. She has also written sympathetic characters on both sides of the conflict, and she has portrayed the wide-ranging motivations of people during war.

HERO ON A BICYCLE would be a great addition to the classroom, particularly if the class will be doing a unit on World War II. It's a book about war, so there is some violence and death, of course, but none of it is gratuitous, and this story of heroic actions by ordinary people will appeal to its intended age group. The illustrations at the beginning of each chapter add charm as well.

My thanks to the publisher and YA Books Central for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Good Points
Would be a great addition to the classroom
A story of heroic actions by ordinary people
Was this review helpful to you? 
(Updated: May 06, 2013)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A

The Italian Resistance to the Nazis

I can't think of any other WWII books set in Italy except for Napoli's Stones in Water, so this is an excellent addition to books set in this time period. There is lots of good detail about what everyday life was like-- the food privations, living under the rule of invaders, and the dangers that ordinary citizens faced. There was a particularly good interchange between Costanza and a German guard posted in the area, Helmut. She rather liked him, and the two realized that if there were no war going on, they might have a chance; Helmut was a good person, but he was on the other side of a war. Paolo's contributions, as well as his bicycle, play a large part in the activities of his village. The only scary parts (because we do a unit on the Holocause and WWII, and there are always students who can't handle scary) are the Nazis rounding up villagers and threatening to execute some of there. I especially liked the chapter decorations and the cover of this-- very true to the time period.

Was this review helpful to you? 

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Every Stolen Breath
The Swarm is unrecognizable, untraceable, and unpredictable—random attacks on the...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Cursed Beauty
Aurora Rose Brynhild is out of time. ...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The C Word
Addison: Secrets have a way of getting out....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Aphelion
Ky isn’t your typical seventeen-year-old girl. She's an alien hunter.Ky...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Announcing Trouble
I may know everything there is to know about baseball,...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seneca Lake
It's 1944, and high school senior Meg Michaels has always...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Freshman Witch
Of course, magic is real. Everybody knows that. ...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sarai and The Around The World Fair
When Sarai outgrows her bike, she worries she'll never get...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Of Beast and Beauty
7 vengeful sisters 7 fairytale kingdoms 7 daughters...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Pepper Party Picks The Perfect Pet (The Pepper Party, #1)
Meet the Peppers. Funny runs in the family....
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dylan’s parents were taken from her in a terrible crash...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dirt
Things are hard for eleven-year-old Yonder. Her mother died and...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Gen One
Generations after robots conquered Earth, the remaining population survives in...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Darknessontheedgeoftown.jpg
Chief Jim Hopper reveals long-awaited secrets to Eleven about his...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
SupermanDawnbreaker.jpg
When the dawn breaks, a hero rises. ...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Moon Water: A Novel
Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains during the summer of...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

The Crystal of Gaea. Aki and the Spheres of Time #5
 
5.0
"Aki and Lilith are off on another exciting adventure, this time to the world of Ancient Greek mythology. This..."
The Crystal of Gaea. Aki and the Spheres of Time #5
 
5.0
"Another amazing adventure of Aki on the Parallel Crystal"
La Petite Josette en Provence: Going to Les Baux-de-Provence (Voyage aux Baux-de-Provence)
 
4.2
"'La Petite Josette En Provence' by Ashley Davidson-Fisher, illustrated by Martinique Louise Fisher, who so happens to be the author's..."
 
4.4
"The Lifters Dave Eggers, Alfred A. Knopf, 2018 Is magic enough to fix the morass of Middle America? Are..."
Ranch Hero
 
4.8
"This story deals with loss, which is usually a very sensitive and difficult subject, in an uplifting and entertaining way..."
The Black and White Ball
 
5.0
"This is a delightful story about a very vain peacock who sets about ensuring he is the most beautiful creature..."
 
5.0
"Good book for middle school kids- a true snapshot of the struggle to fit in the middle school social scene..."
The Crystal of Rea Silvia. Aki and the Spheres of Time #4
 
5.0
"The book was just simply great! Surprises, twists and stuffs! Well I just loved Aki and his amazing adventures!..."
The Crystal of Rea Silvia. Aki and the Spheres of Time #4
 
5.0
"This exciting fourth adventure begins with Aki learning about a startling family secret and having to choose between telling the..."
Alicia and the Light Bulb People in Star Factory 13
 
4.5
"'Alicia and the Light Bulb People in Star Factory 13' by Barbara Roman, illustrated by Vladimir Cebu, is a sweet..."
Sal the Seagull Stole My Lunch
 
4.2
"This one is a lot of fun. Joe and Mary are getting ready to have a picnic at..."
 
4.8
"As a mother and tutor for young children, I highly recommend this novel to add to your children's book shelves...."
The Year Santa Stubbed His Toe
 
4.0
"Santa has always been there to deliver gifts to the good boys and girls around the world, but this year,..."
Alicia and the Light Bulb People in Star Factory 13
 
N/A
"Have you ever noticed how people are like light bulbs? They come in many sizes and shapes, varying in their..."
Felipe Femur
 
5.0
"While this book in occupied by a cast of monsters, it is far from scary. It is also not solely..."
The Crystal Of Atum. Aki and the Spheres of Time #3
 
5.0
"I am so pleased by The Crystal of Atum. I love Aki and the Spheres of Time series. This book..."
The Crystal Of Atum. Aki and the Spheres of Time #3
 
4.8
"This is Aki’s third trip with the Sphere of Time. As usual, he ends up nowhere near the spot where..."
City of Grit and Gold
 
4.3
"'City of Grit and Gold' by Maud Macrory Powell offers a glimpse into the lives of those who came from..."
Good Boy, Achilles!
 
5.0
"Very nice book."
The Pathway to Dragons: The Portal to Pyranis
 
3.5
"'The Pathway to Dragons: The Portal to Pyranis' by Hannah Hoffman is more than your run-of-the-mill fantasy story. When Billy..."