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Bima, the pet lizard, sympathizes with his eight-year-old owner, Todd, who feels too small for everything, including his new bike, so Bima does his part to get Todd on two wheels in time for the all-important school Bike Derby.
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The unorthodox narrator of Kelley's debut novel is a feisty, flippant lizard, the loyal pet of eight-year-old Todd Boucher. Perceptive Bima quickly realizes that his new master lacks self-esteem: Todd is the youngest and shortest kid in third grade and is afraid to learn to ride the racing bike he receives for his birthday. Sporting some unorthodox skills for a reptile (he understands human language and learned to read by watching Sesame Street at the pet store), Bima also issues numerous comical asides. When Todd takes him to school, the teacher advises the boy to hold Bima up higher to give his classmates a better view; Bima, fearful of heights, says to himself, "No! Higher is a bad idea, lady." Then, when a student asks, "What kind of a lizard is he?" Bima quips, "A dizzy lizard!" But, on a more significant plane, the lizard inadvertently inspires Todd to give his bike a tryAand helps him come to terms and make peace with the class bully. Kelley pulls off her unusual premise with humor, and her tale will likely give a subtle boost to kids with shaky confidence. Final artwork not seen by PW. Ages 7-10. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 3-5. With help from his trusty pet lizard Bima, pipsqueak third-grader Todd not only gets over his fear of riding a two-wheeler but also finds common ground with the biggest kid in class. No ordinary lizard, Bima is the story's narrator, and his leaving the house generally leads to disaster. If he's not crawling into someone's taco in the school lunchroom or catching the eye of a hawk, he's riding in Todd's shirt pocket during dangerously wobbly bike trips. When he has a close encounter with a cat, Bobby Menlo, Todd's nemesis, comes to his rescue, paving the way for the boys' possible friendship. Kevin O'Malley's artwork gives visual form to the comic tone, with full-page depictions of the story's exciting moments from both high and low points of view. It's a lightweight, thrill-a-minute problem solver, with a memorable commentator. Stephanie Zvirin
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Book Description Dutton Juvenile, 2000. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0525461426