Bicycle Blues, Anthony Masters (2000)

An adventure story featuring a stolen bicycle aimed at readers aged around seven or eight

Barrington Stoke 1 902260 66 X paperback 71pp £4.50

When Jamie’s new mountain bike is stolen, he is determined to get it back. His quest to do so involves a new alliance, a fight on some wasteground and a daring raid on an old garage. It is a nice, simple, story, that is rich in useful moral lessons – not least the need for bicycles to be securely locked, if you don’t want the local roughs to make off with them.

Occasionally the dialogue seems more country estate than council estate. “Fancy having a rusty padlock that doesn’t work”, one hard-case taunts our hero. He sounds as though he has jumped from the pages of Jennings, rather than being a ‘gang member’ on ‘a run-down estate’. It is not the sort of detail that would put off a child in the target age group, however. And the vernacular delights of Irvine Welsh are probably best saved for teens.

PS Dec 09

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