Bicycles by Patricia Lakin

Published by Aladdin

Summary:  Aaron Dykstra is a craftsman who creates handmade bicycles and sells them through his company, Six Eleven Bicycle Company (named for the 611 train that was supposedly the best and most beautifully designed).  The first few pages of this book give a history of the bicycle and a brief biography of Dykstra and how he came to be a bicycle maker.  Then the reader is shown the twenty steps of his creation process, from getting the customer’s specifications to the final item rolling out of the shop.  There’s a photo of each step, with a short caption explaining the process.  The next two pages tell about Aaron’s program for middle school students, The Making Foundation, and invite readers to try creating by hand.  Finally, there is a four-page timeline of the bicycle, followed by a glossary and resources (books and websites).  32 pages; grades 3-7.

Pros:  A perfect complement to any makerspace program.  A second book in the series, Skateboards was published simultaneously.  The book’s design has the feel of a blueprint or how-to manual, and the photos and biographical information about Aaron make the creation process appealing.

Cons:  I looked at Aaron’s website, and he requires a $1500 deposit before starting on a bike.

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