The Patchwork Bike

The Patchwork Bike” 

In the book, The Patchwork Bike, siblings make their own fun by building a bike from scratch.

Using a hodgepodge of scavenged items, they assemble their bike and ride it through their village and their mud-for-walls home.

Lyrical language and powerful illustrations create an evocative story.

This story promotes creative components of diversity, resourceful, imagination, and inventiveness.

WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: I like this book because the marriage of text and perfectly evoke the joy of riding a bike and capturing readers’ imagination. The title immediately piqued my curiosity, and I wondered how could a bike be patchwork. I enjoyed the author’s lyrical language such as shicketty shake and winketty wonk.

TITLE: The Patchwork Bike

AUTHOR: Maxine Beneba Clarke


PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press, 2018


TOPIC(S): recycled materials, culture, siblings, bike riding

CREATIVE COMPONENTS: diversity, resourceful, imagination, inventiveness


1) Hodgepodge, a synonym for patchwork, is defined as being composed of parts of different kinds. Basically, it is an assortment of different things that do not originally go together but are assembled together to create a final product. What can you make? Gather different items. Take apart the larger items (with permission) into smaller parts. Looking at these various parts, what can you make to create a hodgepodge machine? What is the function(s) of your machine? Build your machine. Name your machine.

2) Design a bike that reflects your personality. Conduct research on different types of bicycles. Remember to look at past bikes, recent bikes, and even bikes of the future to inspire your design.

3) Illustrator Van Thanh Rudd painted on recycled cardboard for the book’s illustrations. Try your hand at painting on cardboard. How is it different from painting on paper? Why do you think the illustrator used cardboard?


To learn more about author Maxine Beneba Clarke, visit:

To learn more about illustrator Van Thanh Rudd, visit:

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