Hero on a Bicycle

Featured
 
4.8 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
1938 0
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

Great MG Historical Fiction
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
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
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
The Italian Resistance to the Nazis
(Updated: May 06, 2013)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
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.
Report this review Comments (1) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

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

Once Upon a Crime: Batman Tales
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Gotham City is filled with stories--of heroes and of villains,...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
With Joanie Stone's colorful illustrations and Allison Crotzer Kimmel's inspirational...
Cracked Up To Be
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
The high price of perfection is one 'Perfect' Parker Fadley...
Finder, Coal Mine Dog
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
An action-packed and heartwarming story of a dog in the...
Bo the Brave
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A feisty little girl learns who the real monsters are...
Double Trouble!
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Mischief is multiplied when twins are around! ...
The Morning Flower (The Omte Origins, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking returns to the...
The Derby Daredevils: Kenzie Kickstarts a Team: (The Derby Daredevils Book #1)
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Ever since they can remember, fifth-graders Kenzie (aka Kenzilla) and...
Nina Soni, Former Best Friend
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The first title in a new series featuring a lovable,...
Nina Soni: Sister Fixer
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The second title in a humorous series featuring a charming,...
The Alchemist's Shadow (Watch Hollow #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Having defeated the Garr, a vicious tree monster who lived...
The Lost City (The Omte Origins, #1)
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Amanda Hocking, the New York Times bestselling author of The...
Helen Keller: The World at Her Fingertips
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When Helen Keller was a baby, she became sick and...
King and Kayla and the Case of the Unhappy Neighbor
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A lovable dog helps his human girl solve a mystery....
Doodleville
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Drew is just a regular artist. But there's nothing ordinary...
Glitch
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From the critically acclaimed author of Float comes a new...

Latest Member Reviews

Jo & Laurie
 
3.3
"Jo March's novel LITTLE WOMEN has done well. Her publisher and readers want a sequel. Only Jo's having a hard..."
Once Upon a Crime: Batman Tales
 
3.5
"BATMAN TALES: ONCE UPON A CRIME reimagines fairytales as Batman stories. There are four main stories in this graphic novel...."
An Enchantment of Ravens
 
2.3
"I'm not very into reading fantasy (so I might not be the best person to review this). But I was..."
 
5.0
"Girls and women have run for a long time; even the author Louisa May Alcott made distance running part of..."
Cracked Up To Be
 
3.7
"Cracked up to be is an unsettling tale of a girl on the cusp of a mental breakdown for over..."
Finder, Coal Mine Dog
 
4.5
"Thomas' father perished in a mining accident, so when his mother became ill and died, he ended up with his..."
Bo the Brave
 
5.0
"BO THE BRAVE is a delightful story about courage and not judging others too quickly. Bo lives with her brothers,..."
Double Trouble!
 
3.0
"DOUBLE TROUBLE! features twins, Ellis and Erin, who are looking for trouble. They search all over the house, in the..."
The Morning Flower (The Omte Origins, #2)
 
4.0
"THE MORNING FLOWER continues the OMTE ORIGINS story as Ulla continues to search for her heritage and for the missing..."
The Derby Daredevils: Kenzie Kickstarts a Team: (The Derby Daredevils Book #1)
 
4.5
"Kenzie and her best friend Shelley love roller derby, a sport in which they are interested because Kenzie's mother is..."
Nina Soni, Former Best Friend
 
5.0
"Nina is nine years old, and struggling with several things. Her father has to spend his week working away from..."
Nina Soni: Sister Fixer
 
5.0
"After Nina Soni, Former Best Friend, Nina is back, and this time is concerned that her little sister is a..."
The Alchemist's Shadow (Watch Hollow #2)
 
4.0
"Lucy and Oliver Tinker and their father Charles are getting settled into Watch Hollow after their harrowing introduction to it..."
None of the Above
 
4.3
"This is one of those books that a reader can learn from. This is the first YA book that I..."
The Lost City (The Omte Origins, #1)
 
4.3
"THE LOST CITY is a highly engaging YA fantasy read about Ulla, a troll. Trolls are secretive creatures who live..."
Helen Keller: The World at Her Fingertips
 
5.0
"Born in 1880, Helen Keller is famous for her persistent nature, but since she died over sixty years ago, she..."
King and Kayla and the Case of the Unhappy Neighbor
 
4.0
"King's friend Thor is in big trouble. His owner, Jillian, got a call from the grumpy Mr. Gary that Thor..."
Doodleville
 
4.5
"Drew loves to draw, and has a notebook full of doodles with whom she interacts. When she takes her sketch..."
Glitch
 
4.0
"Regan has been identified as someone who has the ability to "glitch", or travel through time, and is a student..."
Storm Dog
 
4.0
"Ariel has a difficult home life in her Blue Ridge Mountain home in Virginia. It's not because of economics; her..."