Marshall Taylor could ride his bike forward, backward, even perched on the handlebars. When his stunts landed him a job at the famous Indiana bike shop Hay and Willits, folks were amazed that a thirteen-year-old black boy in 1891 could be such a crackerjack cyclist.
How little Marshall Taylor -- through dedication, undeniable talent, and daring speed -- transformed himself into the extraordinary Major Taylor is chronicled in this inspiring biography. Here is the story of a kid who turned pro at the age of eighteen, went on to win the world championship title just three years later, and battled racism and the odds to become a true American hero.
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Lesa Cline-Ransome is the author of several books for children including the award-winning Satchel Paige and Major Taylor, Champion Cyclist, both illustrated by her husband, James E. Ransome. A graduate of the Pratt Institute, she holds a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from NYU. She lives with her family in upstate New York. Visit her at LesaClineRansome.com.
James E. Ransome’s highly acclaimed illustrations for Knock, Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me won the 2014 Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration. His other award-winning titles include Coretta Scott King Honor Book Uncle Jed’s Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell; Deborah Hopkinson’s Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt; Let My People Go, winner of the NAACP Image Award; and Satchel Paige, written by his wife, Lesa. Mr. Ransome teaches illustration at Pratt Institute and lives in upstate New York with his family. Visit James at JamesRansome.com.
Grade 2-4--A picture-book biography of Marshall Taylor, an African American who became a great bicycle racer. Taylor grew up in Indianapolis, taught himself stunts on his bicycle, and won the first race he entered, in 1891, at age 13. He went on to achieve international fame in a segregated sport. (In this country, he was allowed to compete only because he'd been admitted to the League of American Wheelmen before they voted to bar blacks from membership.) He found a greater level of acceptance in France, and the account of his victory over the French champion Edmond Jacquelin provides the book with its climax. An afterword is frank about the difficulties the athlete encountered after retiring from racing; he died at the age of 53 and was buried in a pauper's grave near Chicago. Overall, the text is smoothly written and greatly enhanced by Ransome's vivid and accomplished paintings. Not quite as long as Cline-Ransome and Ransome's Satchel Paige (S & S, 2000), this book hits only a few high notes in Taylor's life. Mary Scioscia's Bicycle Rider(Harper & Row, 1983; o.p.), illustrated by Ed Young, is a wonderful book for slightly older readers, but focuses only on Taylor's first victory. Useful for reports as well as enjoyable for leisure reading, this attractive book should find a home in most collections.--Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
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