Bikes for Rent
Olaleye, Isaac / Chris Demarest (illus.);
Chris Demarest (illus.)
Bikes for Rent.
New York: Orchard / Scholatic, 2001. out of print,
Note: Lateef, a poor young boy living in a village is western Nigeria, works hard so he can rent a bicycle and ride with the other boys.
_Bikes for Rent_ is a story set in Nigeria about a young boy, Lateef, who eagerly saves all his money to rent bicycles from
Babatunde, the local bicycle shop owner.
At first, Babatunde only rents Lateef old, second-hand bicycles
but one day, assured that Lateef will look after the bicycle and
ride carefully, he rents Lateef a brand new bike. Lateef is
thrilled and eager to show off to his friends. Not
surprisingly, in showing off to his friends, he damages the bike
and must work to pay off the damage. But all ends well when
Babatunde allows Lateef to work for him and Lateef is able to
save enough money to buy a bicycle of his own.
This is a simple and somewhat predictable story that will
nevertheless appeal to young children who will identify with
Lateef's desire to impress his friends and own his own
bike. Children will also recognise the universal themes of the
importance of saving and taking responsibility for one's own
actions. The illustrations are colourful and expressive but
could be improved in places. The depiction of the women's head
ties, for example, looks more like the tops of pineapples than
actual head ties. The illustrations also suffer from
stereotypes such as all the children being barefoot and the
inclusion of a monkey riding on the mammy wagon along side the
passengers. This book is reminiscent of another children's book
about a young boy and his bike, Tololwa Mollel's _My Rows and
Piles of Coins_. In contrast to _Bikes for Rent_, Tololwa's
award-winning book benefits from better illustrations, a
cleverer storyline, and more detailed insights (both visually
and in the text) of life in another part of the continent.
Copyright 2002 by H-Net, all rights reserved. H-Net permits the
redistribution and reprinting of this work for nonprofit,
educational purposes, with full and accurate attribution to the
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contact the Reviews editorial staff: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reviewed by: Sarah Manyika ,University of California, Berkeley
Subject: Bicycles and bicycling / Fiction / Nigeria / West Africa / CABA Honor