Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound” as Want to Read:
Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  393 ratings  ·  89 reviews
From award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney comes the story of the music that defined a generation and a movement that changed the world.

Berry Gordy began Motown in 1959 with an $800 loan from his family. He converted the garage of a residential house into a studio and recruited teenagers from the neighborhood-like Smokey Robinson, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by Roaring Brook Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Rhythm Ride, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Rhythm Ride

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  393 ratings  ·  89 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound
Kris - My Novelesque Life
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
RHYTHM RIDE: A Road Trip Through Motown Sound
Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney
2015; 176 Pages (Roaring Books Press)
(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)
Rating: 4 Stars

(Review Not on Blog)

"Berry Gordy began Motown in 1959 with an $800 loan from his family. He converted the garage of a residential house into a studio and recruited teenagers from the neighborhood-like Smokey Robinson, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Diana Ross-to sing for his new label. Meanwhile, the country was on the
Monica Edinger
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved the Groove, loved the ride, loved the clear and focused writing, loved the respectful way the Groove recognized that today's young readers might need context here and there, loved that it is about Motown and NOT its influence on other music (something one reviewer complained about)...basically just loved it.
Ettore Pasquini
Jul 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: musica
I really liked that this quick history of Motown begins by describing the founder, Berry Gordy. He started out as a boxing fighter (!) and most importantly as a humble worker at Ford, where he learned how the assembly line works. He then implemented the assembly line idea into Motown. Motown worked with a group of song writers, a core of "backup" musicians, and finally the stars / lead singers. Everyone was interchangeable, allowing Motown to steadily put out a ton of (great) music.

Quality was t
Richie Partington
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Richie’s Picks: RHYTHM RIDE: A ROAD TRIP THROUGH THE MOTOWN SOUND by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Roaring Brook, September 2015, 176p., ISBN: 978-1-59643-973-3

“Smiles have all turned to tears
But tears won’t wash away the fears
That you’re never ever gonna return
To ease the fire that within me burns
It keeps me crying baby for you
Keeps me sighin’ baby for you
So won’t you hurry
Come on boy, see about me”
--Holland-Dozier-Holland (1964)

“R&B was a soulful sound that put its arms around listeners and rocked the
Really fascinating look at the behind-the-scenes of Motown--its rise, fall, and the eventual sale of the company. I was familiar with almost all the artists and most of the songs (thanks, Mom), but had no idea about the backstories for many of the artists--Marvin Gaye had to fight Berry Gordy to get "What's Goin' On" (song and album) released; Martha Reeves was a Motown secretary before getting her big break when Mary Wells missed her studio appointment; Stevie Wonder's name is Steveland Morris; ...more
Oct 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I grew up worshiping the Motown sound and every month I walked to the newsstand to buy Right On magazine to read (and obsess) about the comings and goings of the Jackson Five, Diana Ross and other Motown stars. Rhythm Ride, written for middle school and older children, is a fast-paced, fun and lyrical trip through the history of Motown. We learn about the talented, and driven African-Americans who made the Sound of Young America omnipresent while also learning about the history of the the Civil ...more
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed and savored, Andrea Davis Pinkney's Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound What a pleasurable journey down Memory Lane this book provided for me! I remember listening to all that wonderful music on WHBC am radio during my childhood. Dancing along with the Jackson 5 and so many other talented Motown artists, whenever they appeared on TV. This book provided such a fun and accessible introduction to Motown for my daughter. We loved looking at the photos - the clothin ...more
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable! This unique biography/musical history tells the popular story of the rise of Motown while also capturing the social tensions of the time. Like the music of Motown, the story of the label, the artists, and its creator - Berry Gordy - is very compelling and enjoyable. It's a story that's interested people for years, but Pinkney's telling is something a little different. She writes the journey of music or "the groove" through the decades from the first person perspective of the groo ...more
Mary Sanchez
The attractive book cover caught my eye as I was browsing the children's book display and I had to check it out and find out about Motown.

I was a Hispanic teenager during the 1960s and had no idea how hard Barry Gordon worked to make his dream come true, but I knew I liked Motown music and so did the other teenagers, from various cultures, I knew.

What fun it was to turn up the radio dial once again and to relive those by-gone days, with the bonus of background information this time around to c
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can't wait to hear Andrea Davis Pinkney speak to the kids at my school this fall! The book brought me through memory lane, as I remembered the many songs that were such major parts of my life. The tone and story telling of the book were great. I loved how she was able to weave the history of the times with the stories of the music and the stories of the many members of Motown. Great fun to read.....although, my heart is also breaking that we still have so far to go with our Race relations. I c ...more
I read Rhythm Ride while my husband was reading Once in a Great City by David Maraniss. Both books covered Berry Gordy and the unique factors that made Detroit ground zero for hit after hit after hit throughout the 60's and 70's. But Andrea's book reads like your cool auntie telling you a story, and Bob didn't finish the Maraniss book. So there.

All my picks for best books to give this holiday are at
Jan 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Definitely made me want to listen to a lot of Motown music. I read this at the same time as The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory, and it was interesting to compare Motown as a "factory" to the modern hit factory, and the amount of control exerted over the music. Obviously as a children's book this didn't go too deeply into the darker side of that control - it presented Berry Gordy's control over Motown artists' work and lives in a pretty positive light. ...more
Molly Dettmann
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
1. Snazzy cover
2. Interesting and thorough history of Motown Records and Berry Gordy
3. I could hear all the music mentioned in my mind as I was reading this. It made for a very fun read! For kids who might not listen to their local oldies station, it might be cool to have them listen to some songs on YouTube at least, before and after reading this book. I can see this being kind of boring if you'd never heard any of the music before.
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. The writing was fun and clearly structured for young readers who may not know anything about this subject. Wonderful design and photographs! The only thing I wished for was a sound track, although there certainly was one running through my head ;-)
Great information, unfortunately presented in a condescending/folksy voice that quickly grows tiresome and irritating.
Jo Oehrlein
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
Late elementary or middle school book about Berry Gordy and Motown records. It's picture book format, but too thick to really be a picture book.

Great to go with a study of the 1960s or Civil Rights. Would also pair well with a trip to see the musical Motown.

Illustrated with photos and the captions to the photos provide information, also. Love the page numbers styled as records.

Told directly to the reader, breaking the 4th wall about once per chapter.

It doesn't gloss over the problems, but does m
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: multigenre
What an amazing story. I have never read a book about Motown, muchless one aimed at the middle/high school reader. From the opening section, when the Groove does some introducing, I was hooked. The structure of a road trip is revisited so frequently that I never forgot the name of the book, and I really considered it more like a story (a timeline) than ancient history. Pinkney also didn't pull any punches, mentioning some really tragic events in American history and how Motown reacted, and admit ...more
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I had wanted to read a general history of Motown, and my local library was woefully short of such books, but they did have a children's book: Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound by Andrea Davis Pinkney. I found it very informative and well-written. Pinkney gives the book a narrator -- the Groove -- with a distinctive voice, and for the most part it works. If you're interested in Motown, this is worth reading.
Clare Lund
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
An authoritative history of Motown, written at an accessible level for younger readers. Very informative and enjoyable, with Andrea Davis Pinkney’s trademark lyrical writing style. Ages 12 and up, especially for those with an interest in music.
Ellen Fitzgerald
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
3.5 stars. Lots of great information. I took some stars away because although I enjoyed the narrator voice in the intro, it got a bit old and felt condescending as the story progressed. I also felt like this was very text heavy for a children’s book.
Great nonfiction book for teens who want to learn how Motown started.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
A children's book written for adults about motown.
Jada Davis
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing
Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Definitely needs a soundtrack to go along with it to fully appreciate Pinkney's colorful descriptions. I think it might be a tough sell to the kids, but I enjoyed it enough.
Michelle Glatt
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very interesting, highly readable, and that VOICE!
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Well researched, well documented, and written in a remarkable voice, this Pinkney classic chronicles the Motown era complete with primary source photographs.
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Intriguing and informative look at Motown's history.
Jane Harris
Feb 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Insanely readable, groovy, and informative. I learned so much and was entertained every step of the way. Highly recommend.
Tibby (she/her)
I love this book as a whole package. It’s square like a vinyl record and the cover looks like an old album cover with the font and lines. The woman on the cover is made with words that pertain to Motown and Hitsville and it looks really neat. I also love the color palette. Inside the page numbers are written on little records and the chapter titles use that same clean font you see on the front.

As far as the actual text, I’m lukewarm. It was incredibly fascinating the history and story presented
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Outrun the Moon
  • They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid's Poems
  • Betty Before X
  • Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan
  • My Family Divided: One Girl's Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope
  • Becoming Kareem: Growing Up On and Off the Court
  • Proud: Living My American Dream
  • Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring
  • The Only Road (The Only Road #1)
  • Spirit Hunters
  • Speechless
  • Chasing King's Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Assassin
  • Drum Roll, Please
  • Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961
  • Bubonic Panic: When Plague Invaded America
  • Nowhere Boy
  • Halfway Normal
  • Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees
See similar books…
Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 20 books for children, including the Caldecott Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Honor Book Duke Ellington, illustrated by Brian Pinkney; Let it Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and winner of the Carter G. Woodson Award; and Alvin Ailey, a Parenting Publication Gold medal winne ...more

Related Articles

Dhonielle Clayton is a YA author, a 2018 Goodreads Choice Award nominee, and the chief operating officer of We Need Diverse Books, a ...
85 likes · 10 comments