Reviews for Monsieur Albert Rides to Glory

Kirkus Reviews 2013 April #1
Framing a distant cousin to "The Tortoise and the Hare" in loosely sketched watercolors and delicious dactyls, Graham and his brother-in-law present an aging but game Parisian who quixotically enters a bicycle race to the Côte d'Azur. Having impulsively lined up against hotshots like "handsome young François, surrounded by girls, / with a sneer on his lips and a shine on his curls," 60-year-old Albert sets off on the grueling course and resolutely pedals on as others whiz by. Having labored through days of rain and snow, he reaches the top of the mountain pass at last--in time to watch as a giant snowball plummets past, snatches up all the other cyclists and plunges into the sea far below. As the erstwhile entrants drag their way to shore, Albert "rides into Nice, / with an escorting bevy of mounted police. / A hug from a film star, a kiss from the mayor, / for Albert Larousse--cyclist extraordinaire!" The verses' clever rhymes and the handwritten-style typeface both complement Graham's informal scenes of the balding, white-haired gent plugging along or sitting at his ease with bread and wine as flocks of helmeted cyclists zoom past--and ultimately holding up a golden trophy in triumph. Bravo! Slow and steady wins the race--though being tardy enough to miss the avalanche helps. (Picture book. 6-8) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 July

Gr 3-4--When Albert, an elderly Parisian cyclist, decides to enter a local race, he finds himself up against handsome young François, who looks more like he belongs in a boy band than on a bike. Readers will cheer the slow but determined Albert as the rhythm of each rhyming line keeps pace with his journey over mountains, through snack breaks and cramped muscles. Atop a snowy peak, he narrowly escapes a giant snowball that sweeps the other racers, fancy François included, and launches them down the slope, through the countryside, and off a cliff into the sea. Luckily for them, they all survive both the giant avalanche and potential drowning to witness Albert's triumph. Smith's text successfully incorporates cycling vocabulary and French words by giving readers a pronunciation guide in the rhyme scheme. Graham's warm and humorous illustrations make Albert an unlikely but lovable champion.--Jenna Boles, Greene County Public Library, OH

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