The Bicycle Spy
The Bicycle Spy
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Annotation: Dreaming of competing in the Tour de France, avid young cyclist Marcel discovers secrets that place his friend's family in danger and compel Marcel to pass covert information at the risk of his own safety.
Catalog Number: #128142
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2016
Edition Date: 2016
Pages: 197 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-545-85095-9
ISBN 13: 978-0-545-85095-7
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016013790
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
It's 1942, and German troops have recently occupied the small French town where Marcel lives with his parents, who run a bakery. Delivering bread one day, he finds a cryptic message inside a loaf and deduces that his parents are working with the Resistance. He befriends Delphine, a new classmate who shares his love of bicycles and the Tour de France. After discovering that she is Jewish and her family is in danger, Marcel begins a perilous journey on his bike to arrange for their escape. A glossary of terms (cornichons, Gestapo, ration cards), a time line of WWII France, and a brief history of the Tour de France are among the appended features. Clearly written, suspenseful, and accessible to a younger audience than most escape stories involving Jewish children during the war, this chapter book has classroom potential. An engaging story with an attractive jacket, this historical novel is a good companion book for Gregory Maguire's The Good Liar (1995) and Susan Lynn Meyer's Black Radishes (2010), which are also set in occupied France.
Publishers Weekly
A winning protagonist propels this WWII adventure, which is set in 1942 in a Nazi-occupied French village. Diminutive yet determined 12-year-old Marcel loves to ride his bicycle and adores the Tour de France, which has been suspended because of the war. Marcel imagines himself on the Tour as he delivers bread for his baker parents, slipping sweets to armed guards to win their cooperation. McDonough (Little Author in the Big Woods) effectively escalates the conflict as Marcel discovers coded messages inside the loaves and realizes that his parents are members of the Resistance. Marcel forms a fast friendship with Delphine, a clever girl who shares his love of biking, and later discovers her family's Jewish heritage, which puts them in grave danger. Some narrative elements feel rushed, such as how quickly Marcel and Delphine disclose their families' secrets to each other, but readers should be riveted as Marcel encourages his parents to help Delphine's family escape and helps put a daring rescue into action. This engrossing introduction to WWII also includes a glossary, historical notes, and reading suggestions. Ages 8-12. Agent: Judith Ehrlich, Judith Ehrlich Literary Management. (Sept.)
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ALA Booklist (9/1/16)
Horn Book
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal
Wilson's Children's Catalog
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (page 195).
Word Count: 33,148
Reading Level: 4.7
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.7 / points: 5.0 / quiz: 185100 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.7 / points:3.0 / quiz:Q71562
Marcel read the note once, twice, and then a third time. Picnics, bridges... what could it mean? Why hide a message about a picnic in a loaf of bread? Unless... maybe it was a code of some kind.

The Germans had invaded the Free Zone about two weeks ago. Marcel's father had sent him to his aunt's with bread several times since then. He'd never thought anything of it -- he'd been delivering bread for them since he was eight or nine. But going multiple times in only two weeks was way more than usual.

The trips he had made recently must have been about more than just delivering bread or pastries. Much more...

Excerpted from The Bicycle Spy by Yona Zeldis McDonough
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Can Marcel make the ride of his life?

Marcel loves riding his bicycle, whether he's racing through the streets of his small town in France or making bread deliveries for his parents' bakery. He dreams of someday competing in the Tour de France, the greatest bicycle race. But ever since Germany's occupation of France began two years ago, in 1940, the race has been canceled. Now there are soldiers everywhere, interrupting Marcel's rides with checkpoints and questioning.

Then Marcel learns two big secrets, and he realizes there are worse things about the war than a canceled race. When he later discovers that his friend's entire family is in imminent danger, Marcel knows he can help -- but it will involve taking a risky bicycle ride to pass along covert information. And when nothing ends up going according to plan, it's up to him to keep pedaling and think quickly... because his friend, her family, and his own future hang in the balance.

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