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Hero on a Bicycle [Hardcover]

Shirley Hughes , Meiklejohn Illustration Ltd
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Kindle Edition £4.20  
Hardcover £8.85  
Hardcover, 3 May 2012 --  
Paperback £4.89  
MP3 CD, Audiobook £13.71  

Book Description

3 May 2012
In extraordinary circumstances, people are capable of extraordinary things... It is 1944 and Florence is occupied by Nazi German forces. The Italian resistance movement has not given up hope, though – and neither have Paolo and his sister, Constanza. Both are desperate to fight the occupation, but what can two siblings do against a whole army with only a bicycle to help them?

Frequently Bought Together

Hero on a Bicycle + The Messenger Bird + Hitler's Angel
Buy the selected items together
  • The Messenger Bird £5.99
  • Hitler's Angel £5.99

Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Walker; 1st edition (3 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1406336106
  • ISBN-13: 978-1406336108
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 20.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 401,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Shirley was born in West Kirby, near Liverpool, and studied fashion and dress design at Liverpool Art School, before continuing her studies at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford. She then embarked on a career as a freelance illustrator in London, where she still lives today. She illustrated other writers' work, including Noel Streatfeild, Alison Uttley, Ian Seraillier, Margaret Mahy and notably Dorothy Edwards's My Naughty Little Sister series. Shirley began to write and draw her own picture books when her children were young.

Her first book - Lucy and Tom's Day - was published in 1960, and she followed it with, among others, Dogger and the Alfie series. Shirley Hughes has won the Other Award, the Eleanor Farjeon Award, and the Kate Greenaway Medal for Illustration twice, for Dogger in 1977 and for Ella's Big Chance in 2003. In 2007 Dogger was voted the public's favourite Greenaway winner of all time. Shirley received an OBE in 1999 for services to Children's Literature.

Product Description


"* "Shirley Hughes is one of the all time greats." (Today) * "She will be remembered for the warmth and humour with which she has captured the fast changes in the family through the second half of the twentieth century." (The Guardian on Shirley Hughes)"

Book Description

A gripping and moving first novel by one of the world's best-loved writers for children.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling wartime read. 8 Jun 2012
By C. Colley TOP 500 REVIEWER
Shirley Hughes is one of the best-loved writers for children, and at the grand age of 84, Shirley has just published her first novel. Hero on a Bicycle is suitable for confident readers aged around 10 and over, but adults can also enjoy this well-told story.
Set in Florence, Italy, during the Second World War, this story is inspired by the authors own experiences and on people she met in Italy, just after the war.
Thirteen-year-old Paolo lives in Florence with his English mother, older sister and his beloved dog, Guido. The Germans have invaded and Paolo's father is in hiding and secretly suspected of helping the Partisans, who are roaming the hills around Florence.
Paolo loves going for secret midnight bike rides. He knows this is dangerous because nightly curfews are in place and anyone caught breaking the rules would suffer at the hands of the German occupying force. One night on his way home, Paolo is stopped by a group of Partisans. They ask him to take an important message to his mother, a message that leads them all in to a very dangerous adventure.
I won't spoil the plot by revealing anymore, but be prepared for a tense, dangerous, exciting and thrilling story that does not shy away from the brutality and fear suffered in wartime. The plot and characters are very realistic and there is one particular scene that I found very moving.
This is NOT a comparison, but I enjoyed this book in a similar way that I enjoy Michael Morpurgo's wartime stories. I think this type of story can be enjoyed by young and old alike, and a realistic story is a good way to learn about a place and time in history.
For more historical details and information all about this book, there is also a great website to browse. Just google the book title.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 21 Aug 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my granddaughter as part of her birthday. I also bought the kindle version so have read it myself. It is a great story well written and gives an insight, I think, to the younger generation about what some people did and suffered during the war. My granddaughter (age 10) has now started reading it and told me only last evening how much she was enjoying the book. So different from Mallory Towers and Famous Five!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new venture for a great illustrator 10 Aug 2012
By Jan
The name Shirley Hughes brings some wonderful books to mind, but none of them are novels. In the forward to this new book Ms Hughes tells us that this is a story she always knew she would write one day. She visited Florence not long after the end of the war and so this story has obviously been simmering away for some time while she entertained generations of children with her wonderful picture books.

The hero of the title is a thirteen year old boy, Paolo, who lives just outside the city of Florence with his sister Constanza, and their English mother. Their father is not at home as his sympathies lie not with the Italian Fascists and the German occupying force, but with the partisans who are trying to liberate Italy. He felt his family would be safer if he was not around, but they seem to find plenty of danger all by themselves. The family hide two escaped prisoners of war, who are trying to get back to their units and Paolo suddenly finds all the adventure and excitement he has been craving. He is a brave lad, and, with the aid of his trusty bicycle, he saves more than one life before the allied soldiers arrive, the war finally ends and his father is able to come home.

Shirley Hughes is a wonderful storyteller whether she is using words or pictures. I do hope there are other stories and novels that are simmering away waiting to delight us.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read 2 Oct 2013
I bought this for my 11 year old son last Christmas and he loved it and insisted I found the time to read it myself. I'm so glad I did, it was a thrilling read that had me hooked and I read it in a day. Worth every penny!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good 18 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A lovely read, I downloaded this for my daughter for book club, but would of read it anyway! Loved it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good reading for children. 19 April 2013
By Jo
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was recommended by my grandson and is a story of the resistance and a young boys efforts to assist
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hero on a Bicyle 13 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a wonderful story, you really warm to each of the characters and what they were going through.

A book not just for children but for grown ups as well
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hero On A Bicycle 6 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Italy 1944 during the Nazi occupation, Paolo's father is off with the Partisans or so he thought, Paolo, his sister Constanza and his mother are trying to survive the war as best they can. He trys to help by attempting to join the Partisans but he is to young they say, then the Partisans ask his mother if they will take in two allied airman and Paolo's adventures begin, an excellent well written book and well worth a read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars On holiday I read it out loud to my 10 ...
On holiday I read it out loud to my 10 year old granddaughter and 79 year old sister and they were both captivated by the story. Read more
Published 2 months ago by geraldine roberts
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
What a great read, good for adults and children. Lovely book
Published 2 months ago by Mr. Mark J. O'reilly
3.0 out of 5 stars hero on a bicycle
Having read Shirley Hughes 2 my children throughput their childhood, I was expecting a great read. I was disappointed. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jhealing
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic read for children and a good quick read for an adult
My son was 10 when he read this and has always been hard to engage with books. However, he really got into this book and nagged me to read it too which I did whilst on a family... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Mrs. Dawn L. Chapman
5.0 out of 5 stars bought for a 10 year old
My grandson said this was a good story and he enjoyed it. I think it may have been a bit easy for him as he finished it in a couple of hours! Read more
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Hero on a bicyle
It arrived promptly and in good condition
Good value for money and a book I had looked forward to reading by a wonderful children's author
Published 19 months ago by MRS AJP MEARING
5.0 out of 5 stars One to read
A great children's novel steeped in history and with an engaging plot. My daughter loved it and talked about it for days.
Published 20 months ago by Marcelle Orsi
5.0 out of 5 stars utter brilliance
I really enjoyed this book it showed the events of the war and how it effected italy.Also it gave you a chance to see it from many diffrent peoples views letting you as a reader... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Amy Westray
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