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The Patchwork Bike

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  664 ratings  ·  145 reviews
What's the best fun in the whole village? Riding the patchwork bike we made! A joyous picture book for children by award-winning author Maxine Beneba Clarke.

When you live in a village at the edge of the No-Go Desert, you need to make your own fun. That's when you and your brothers get inventive and build a bike from scratch, using everyday items like an old milk pot (maybe
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 25th 2016 by Hachette Australia
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Average rating 4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  664 ratings  ·  145 reviews

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Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
It took a little while, but at some point creators of children’s books realized that cardboard holds an almost supernatural power over the imaginations of small children. It is the ultimate building material. Strong and sturdy, yet malleable. Bonus: You can draw on it. Interestingly, in terms of plotting I’ve seen it mentioned in graphic novels far more often than picture books. Books like Cardboard by Doug TenNapel and Cardboard Kingdom by Chad Sell may even take it to an extreme level. There ...more
This is one of the most special picture books I’ve read this year. Gorgeous. Don’t miss the author’s and illustrator’s notes.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I freaking love this book. Fantastic illustrations, great prose. My favorite page is the first look at the “fed-up mum.” Her body language is so universal, I burst out laughing. What a great book!
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cybils, picture-book
A girl and her brothers in Africa create their own bike from random parts. A story of hope amid a dark world, with wildly unusual illustrations, and novel text.
Kylie Purdie
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads, cbc-2017
This has been shortlisted for the Australian Children's Book Council Picture Book of the Year.

While the setting may not be familiar to many kids, I think the experience would be. I love the opening couple of lines of this book: -

This is the village where we live inside our mud-for-walls home. These are my crazy brothers and this is our fed-up mum.

We all know the fed-up mum right? We've all experienced her and some of us are even lucky enough to be her! And this is what I mean by the shared exper
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-book
An exuberant, evocative, and striking window into play and imagination amid the landscape of third-world poverty.
Dec 18, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: easy
The author and illustrator notes in the back are, in my mind, the most important part.
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
An award-winning poet and spoken-word artist, Clarke has created a picture book that shimmers and sings. It tells the story of a little girl whose brothers have created a bicycle out of scraps. Their family lives on the outskirts of the no-go desert and there is little all around them. The best thing though, is their bike. Built out of tin cans, buckets, bark and wood. It is enough to carry all of them back and forth, ignoring their fed-up mother as they whisk past.

The words in this picture book
Feb 13, 2019 rated it did not like it
The first thing I liked about this book was that no one 'saved' these children from their poverty; they weren't looking for someone to make their life 'better' and they just enjoyed being children - at least at first glance. And although I agree with most other comments about the great language, phrases, and simple illustrations done on cardboard, I have one major disagreement.
This is the 4th book in recent weeks I've received that, to me, are based on political correctness and therefore, in my
Shaye Miller
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my favorite new picture book read of the week. The artwork and message are absolutely fantastic! It's about three children living in a village with mud-for-walls houses. They laugh and shriek and climb trees and use all sorts of odds and ends to create a bike. The creativity and joy are so very apparent. And all the artwork was created on recycled cardboard!

Some of my very best memories from childhood are of times when I created something out of nothing. I remember building a go-cart fr
Age: Toddler-Preschool
Activism: Black Lives Matter, black pride
Location: Unidentified rural desert
Things that go: Bike
Tough Issues: Poverty
Identity/Our Voices: Author (Caribbean Australian) Illustrator (Australian)

"When you live in a village at the edge of the No-Go Desert, you need to make your own fun. That's when you and your brothers get inventive and build a bike from scratch, using everyday items like an old milk pot (maybe mum is still using it, maybe not) and a used flour sack."

This book
I hope this is not an ignorant thing to say, but it never occurred to me quite like this how much more creative and imaginative you have to be to play well as a poor child. Beautifully written and illustrated!
Can see pairing it with both books about poverty and books about creating items for both imaginary and real play. Can see why this originally 2016 Australian published book is getting so much buzz. Love the notes from both the author and illustrator.
Sarah Krajewski
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Benji Martin
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Fantastic illustrations.
Rachel Snyder
Loved the illustrations
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: diverse-reads
A girl and her two brothers don't have much, but find ways to have fun even in rough circumstances ("this is the village where we live inside out mud-for-walls home"), sliding down sand hills, climbing the Fiori tree, but most of all enjoying their bike, patchworked together with found items and handlebars made of branches. A testimony to ingenuity and the ability of kids to have fun and hope even when circumstances are less than ideal. This book is so textural, I kept feeling the pages, almost ...more
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fun in an African (?) village on a bike made out of rubbish. Illustrations by Van T Rudd really make this book special. He uses found objects and old paper in the illustrations, mimicking the make up of the beloved bike. Superb.
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
A must-read. Brilliant art/text combo, high kid appeal, perfect attitude. Highly recommended for ages 3-6.
Sandy Brehl
In the current push for books representing diverse cultures and stories, this one is truly rare, especially when it comes to underdeveloped countries/communities. There is a serious need for books involving refugees, war-torn settings, and other dire circumstances. Bring 'em on!
But this book is nothing like that.
At all.
And it is equally necessary.
This is a jubilant celebration of childhood energy, creativity, and happiness.
Street artist Van Than Rudd uses sheets of unfolded cardboard boxes as h
Jodi Masters
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pre-k-bookshelf
The Patchwork Bike is a fun story about a girl and her brothers who live in a village at the edge of the no-go desert. We follow them through the creation of their bike from wood, flour sacks, a milk pot, and tin cans. In the end we see the children showing pride in their accomplishment and having fun with their creation.

I picked this picture book not only because its of the authors storytelling ability, but also because of the amazing illustrations. The book looks to be made out of used cardboa
Aleah Johnson
A mother and her three children live in a mud house in a village out in the middle of a desert. The children must find some way to keep themselves entertained in this middle of nowhere setting. The children work together and use their imagination in order to create a "patchwork bike". The three siblings have so much fun riding around on this patchwork bike, making the most of the things they have. The story includes resourcefullness and imagination.

I liked "The Patchwork bike"
John Clark
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simple, easy to follow text accompanies great illustrations that are designed to look like they were drawn on corrugated cardboard. They give the story an authentic feeling, since it's set in a rural village that could easily be in Africa or Australia. Three brothers take young readers along as they enjoy the fun and freedom of riding a bike assembled from such varied components as wooden wheels, a bark license plate, tin cans and their mother's milk pot. Colloquial words used to describe the so ...more
Nov 01, 2019 added it
Shelves: books-21-40
Summary: This story is about a patchwork bike that is made. The child in this book lives in a desert and decides to make his own kind of fun. He and his brothers get creative and build a bike from scratch. They use items they find laying around. This bike was a hit in the little village.

Evaluation: All of the pictures in the book are really cool. They are watercolor and look like they are cardboard boxes. All of the pictures are also extremely detailed. I really enjoyed looking through the book.
LaVonne Hanlon
Oct 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Gr. K-3. This award-winning collaboration from an Australian author and illustrator should appeal to budding builders everywhere! The family in the book may not have much money, but they possess an abundance of imagination – enough to turn dented and discarded parts into a prized bicycle. In notes at the end of the book, writer Maxine Beneba Clarke and artist Van Thanh Rudd, express their belief in the power of celebrating people from all backgrounds and economic situations, proving that poverty ...more
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In this story a young girl and her brothers takes readers on a joy filled ride through their village with an inventive bike. I loved the drawing of the Muslim mother who was not always pleased with their playful antics. I don't use the word rad ever, however the word rad instantly came to my mind as I viewed the illustrations. The words dope, and cool, also came to mind too. Symbols of protest, defiance, and pride can also be seen throughout this book.

In the back of the book the author and illu
Sean Congemi
The don't have much, but a young boy and his brothers have a bike. A bike with a bucket for a seat, branches for handle bars, and tin can for wheels. It might not be much, but these brothers love there bike that they ride through their mud for walls village. This book teaches young readers to appreciate what you have, even if it isn't much. The boys in this story live in a mud home, only have a few things, but they love their bike. You can tell in the illustrations that they boys are happy and l ...more
Author: Maxine Beneba Clarke
Illustrator: Van T Rudd
Age Recommendation: Pre-School/ Kinder
Art Style: Mixed materials on recycled materials.
Topic/ Theme: Family and Reusing materials
Setting:Rural village

The Patchwork Bike is a simple book. A boy talking about his environment, his family and his prized possession. That possession is a bike made up of bits and pieces from the village. There is no real story line just a slice of life into another world, like meeting a new friend.

This is an acclaimed

Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very thought provoking artwork. I had trouble transposing the illustrators political commentary to the environment that I had imagined while reading the book, but once I placed the setting closer to South Africa it made a little more sense to me. The artwork was AMAZING throughout, and honestly created a feeling of sadness while reading about how western nations impose their culture on less economically stable countries through waste creation. This is such a frustrating concept and makes me wish ...more
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Maxine Beneba Clarke is an Australian writer and slam poetry champion of Afro-Caribbean descent. She is the author of the poetry collections Gil Scott Heron is on Parole (Picaro Press, 2009) and Nothing Here Needs Fixing (Picaro Press, 2013), the title poem of which won the 2013 Ada Cambridge Poetry Prize.

Her debut short story collection, Foreign Soil, won the 2013 Victorian Premier's Award for a

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