Ride Ricardo Ride by Phil Cummings
Published by Omnibus Books
Ricardo loved to ride his bicycle everywhere. His dad often encouraged him shouting, ‘ride, Ricardo, ride.’ One day, the soldiers came to Ricardo’s village, casting shadows with their guns. Ricardo’s dad did not want his son to lose his bike, so they secreted it away, dismantling it and hiding it in parts.
The shadows stayed through long days and nights until one day, Ricardo’s father was lost to the shadows. Ricardo wondered if he would ever ride his bike again.
When the shadows disappeared and dancing and laughter returned to the village, Ricardo reassembled his bike and rode into the hills with the memory of his father’s voice, ‘ride, Ricardo, ride.’
I found this a very moving and effective way of using symbolism to communicate the devastating impact of war to children. The illustrations feature differing shades of browns and greens which effectively depict the lingering sadness of the story. I read this with my almost 4 year old and she loved the story. She may not understand the reason for the shadows, but she was captivated by Ricardo’s journey, as he overcomes his grief and rides again into the sunset.
I believe this would be best for ages 5-8, and a fine way to teach children about the darker issues of history that must never be repeated.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Phil Cummings
Illustrator: Shane Devries
Title: Ride Ricardo Ride
Publisher: Omnibus Books
Published: March 2015