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Hero on a Bicycle by [Hughes, Shirley]
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Hero on a Bicycle Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Length: 224 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

This first novel by acclaimed children's picture-book writer and illustrator Hughes expertly captures the tension in the Crivelli home, as Rosemary tries to raise her two children and keep them safe while covertly supporting the Partisan cause...A superb historical thriller.
--Kirkus reviews (starred review)

After more than 50 years of writing and illustrating children's books, two-time Greenaway Medal-winner Hughes delivers her first novel, a tense and emotional thriller set during the German occupation of Florence in 1944, near the end of WWII...The Italian setting is vibrantly presented, and Hughes creates both a memorable cast and a palpable sense of danger at a critical juncture of the war.
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Vividly evoking the closing-in conflict, with tanks rumbling along a nearby road, zooming fighter planes and relentless shellfire, Hughes ratchets up the tension. ... Huge as the war is, this story is an intimate one -- centering on the courageous actions of one Italian family as the conflict arrives at their doorstep, forcing them to grapple with the harsh complexities of good and evil.
--The New York Times Book Review

This first novel by acclaimed children s picture-book writer and illustrator Hughes expertly captures the tension in the Crivelli home, as Rosemary tries to raise her two children and keep them safe while covertly supporting the Partisan cause...A superb historical thriller.
Kirkus reviews (starred review)
After more than 50 years of writing and illustrating children s books, two-time Greenaway Medal winner Hughes delivers her first novel, a tense and emotional thriller set during the German occupation of Florence in 1944, near the end of WWII...The Italian setting is vibrantly presented, and Hughes creates both a memorable cast and a palpable sense of danger at a critical juncture of the war.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Vividly evoking the closing-in conflict, with tanks rumbling along a nearby road, zooming fighter planes and relentless shellfire, Hughes ratchets up the tension. ... Huge as the war is, this story is an intimate one -- centering on the courageous actions of one Italian family as the conflict arrives at their doorstep, forcing them to grapple with the harsh complexities of good and evil.
The New York Times Book Review"

Review

'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)

'One of our greatest writers.' (David Almond)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1557 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Walker (19 April 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008BI5L8Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #46,762 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By C. Colley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover
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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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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Format: Hardcover
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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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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Kindle Edition
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 holiday. I could see why he had enjoyed it as it was a really enjoyable read for me. We got back from holiday and he asked me to get him another book by Shirley Hughes, but then we realised this was her first longer novel. Please write another, Shirley! We used to have an anthology of children's stories and poems which we read to my son as a much younger child at bedtime. He always loved the Shirley Hughes stories and poems. More novels please!!
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Format: Paperback
This is Shirely Hughes first full length fiction book, and is surprisingly good. Set in Italy in 1944 near liberation day, it tells the story of English born Signora Crivelli and her family, Paolo and Constanza, who are all trying to keep a low profile as dad has gone to fight with the Partisans. However they become embroiled when two airmen are boarded overnight with them and then whilst trying to meet up with the Partisans, they end up helping one to escape and then the leader of the Partisans to escape a firing squad. All ends happily with liberation and dad returning to find his family heroes as well. Not as good as Tamar (Mal Peet), Auslander (Paul Dowswell) or Fathom Five (Robert Westall) which all deal with spies and Resistance, but it has a place within the teenage genre and is quick paced and easy to read.
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