Froggy just got his very first bike, and it's exactly what he wanted. Almost. Finishing touches like a bell and a horn have to be added before Froggy is ready to ride. Then, surrounded by cheering friends, Froggy starts to pedal. Oops! He falls off. He tries again. Oops! Riding a bike is hard! After a long day, and a few bumps and bruises, Froggy finally learns to ride, and once he does, he can't wait to go again. Froggy Rides a Bike is a reassuring reminder that practice makes perfect and it's sure to make kids eager to learn to ride on their own.
The Printz Award winning author of A Step from Heaven goes lightweight, or lighter, in this story about a Korean-American teenager whose wealthy aunt has just won a lottery and offers her plastic surgery for double eyelid folds. On the one hand, Joyce longs to be as beautiful as her perfect, high-achieving older sister, Helen, but she can't stand pain. Yet how else will she attract her handsome classmate, John Ford Kang, who confuses her with their ugly Korean-American classmate? Then again, does she really want to be like Aunt Gomo, who has had so much cosmetic surgery that Joyce and her younger brother have nicknamed her Michael "for the singer who had altered his appearance beyond recognition"? In creating her bumbling, would-be Everygirl protagonist, Na gives only surface attention to the issues she raises: the pressures of conventional standards of beauty, especially Western demands on Asian women; conformity versus individuality (Joyce is the last in the family to discover that Helen is gay). Joyce remains focused on appearances, being rude to the generous, sensitive boy who has cystic acne, liking John Ford Kang for his looks and learning tricks to make her eyes appear less Asian. By the end, the suffering of supporting characters seems to have been airbrushed away. Ages 12-up.