Monday, August 13, 2012

Middle Grade Monday - Wheels of Change by Sue Macy

Macy, Sue. Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way). National Geographic for Children, Jan 2011. 96p. $18.95. 978-1-426-30761-4.
| indiebound)

Genre: Informational (history of bicycle)
Rating: Chock full of info on the safety (what bikes were called)
Design: Bold and colorful with lots of sidebars to keep things interesting.

Layout: In Wheels of Change each chapter opens with a two-page spread featuring a full-page picture with caption one side and a quote and the beginnings of a some great information on the other side.  The chapter title spans both pages, is in white text with random upper/lowercase letters. Some of the letters have colorful openings. The information page also features a bike wheel. Throughout the book there are pull-outs and lots of color. At the end of every chapter there are features like "Cycling Slang" and each has a bright green background filled with white lettering and photos.

from my phone 8/11/12

Writing: Wheels of Change is chock-block full of information. We learn about the history of the bicycle - the design was imported from England by Albert Pope - it's many changes as they tried to make it lighter and safer, as well as how some people were for or against it for health-related reasons. The chapters also cover bicycle racing. Did you know there were a number of bicycling magazines including Bicycling for Ladies?  The most fascinating to me was the fight over whether the bicycle was good for women's health and what they should wear if allowed to ride it. I was fascinated with everything in the beginning but, despite it's slight 96 pages,  I felt a little bogged down with words by the fourth chapter. The conversational tone is what kept me reading through the author's notes.

Wheels of Change could be the basis of a variety of research papers or reports including women's rights, women's dress codes, female sportswriters, mobility, and female racers.

I would pair this one with Bootleg by Karen Blumenthal due to it's evolving and controversial nature or it could be paired with Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming for a study on women in history. Recommended.


  1. Oh I love the chapter spread of art! Thanks for sharing this.

  2. I like the layout too and the peep back in time! Who knew the bicycle was so controversial?!


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