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Cover image for Along a long road
Along a long road
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Little, Brown, 2011.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 21 cm
Illustrations and brief text evoke a bicycle ride, with its ups and downs, sweeping turns, and vivid views.
Reading Level:


Call Number
Things That Go Viva
JPT GO! Viva
E Viva

On Order



Follow that road!

Speed off on an eventful bicycle ride along the bold yellow road that cuts through town, by the sea, and through the country. Ride up and around, along and through, out and down.

Frank's striking graphic style is executed in just five joyous colors, and his spare, rhythmic language is infectious.

Hit a bump?
Get back on track!
Reach the end?
Start again!

Author Notes

Frank Viva is an illustrator and graphic designer who has won more than 300 awards. His illustrations have appeared in Time , Esquire , the N ew York Times , the Boston Globe and on the cover of the New Yorker . A past president of The Advertising & Design Club of Canada, he is passionate about cooking, wine, and his daily bike ride to the office. This is his first children's picture book.

Reviews 6

School Library Journal Review

PreS-K-A bicycle rider loop-de-loops through countryside and cityscape, winding his way up, down, around, and through various landmarks before starting all over again. Part concept book and part freewheeling adventure, this visual tour de force blends succinct text with supple shapes and silhouettes and whimsical wayside wonders. (June) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

A note explains that newcomer Viva created the art for this celebration of cycling "as a single, continuous thirty-five-foot-long piece of art." The uniting element is a golden, glossy ribbon of road that winds, unbroken (but for a tunnel), through the matte pages of the entire book, even onto the endpapers and covers. Suggestive of linocut prints, Viva's artwork combines supple curves, big areas of soft black background, light blue for water and shading, and the occasional brick-red accent; it's simultaneously stylish and restrained. Simple, lilting text reproduces the smooth, rhythmic pace of cycling and the meditative state of mind it induces. "Along a long road," Viva starts, showing the cyclist in a grove of birches, "going up," he continues, as the cyclist climbs an incline, passing a snail. "Around a small town and down," he continues, as the road snakes past a football field, a bird flies overhead, and a figure on a tractor waves in the distance. It's the kind of book that creates a mood rather than telling a story, evoking the freedom of traveling, the joy of movement, and the exhilaration of being outside. Ages 3-6. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

A cyclist journeys along a seaside road into a tunnel, across a bridge, through a town (where he bumps into an errant apple and momentarily stops), and around an amusement park--before looping back home. Readers will enjoy tracing with their fingers the thin tan road (slightly textured), which, page after page, is a continuous path. The spare text is pleasantly rhythmic. (c) Copyright 2011. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

What was one continuous 35-foot long work of art turns into a nifty visual exercise and an engaging image for young folk.There are only four colorsblack, white, blue and rustexcept for that long, long road, which is a shiny ocher. The text is equally minimalist, with only a handful of words per page. The cycling hero curls over his racing bike, now like a crochet hook, now like the capital letter L, now like the letter U, sideways. He races around the town, through a tunnel, over a bridge, hitting a bump, stopping, riding again. That shiny road widens and narrows but never ceases, and readers will gaze wide-eyed at what is along the way: a boy getting ice cream from a truck; a pregnant woman, with boy and dog in tow, buying groceries and waving; the circus tent outside of town and the lighthouse at water's edge. Viva, an international cyclist and designer ofNew Yorkercovers, among many other things, has a pleasing graphic style that indicates shape and movement with geometric form and line.Great fun to look at; kids will feel the speed of the bike and the there-ness of place.(Picture book. 4-8)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

A long, noodly figure rides a long, noodly bicycle through a changing landscape, from the starkness of a forest to the cramped geometry of a cityscape. Text just a few words per page provides the whispery beat to which he rides. Hitting a bump / in the way / Stopped / by the side of the road / Up again / back on the track. Viva's resume includes New Yorker covers, and it shows in the hip, woodcut-style illustrations done in an array of muted tones. In fact, Viva created the entire book as 35-foot-long piece of art, which means each page turn connects flawlessly with the next the glossy yellow road picks up precisely where it left off, words on buildings are cut neatly in half, and the road makes a complete cycle across the back and front covers to begin again. The overall effect is one of speed: the rider is leaning forward, the road whips away like ribbon, and each word puffs out like a bicyclist's panted breath. Eccentric and peculiar, but handsome, too.--Kraus, Danie. Copyright 2010 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

A terrific debut from Viva, an award-winning illustrator and frequent cover artist for The New Yorker, this sleek and stylish travelogue follows a lone cyclist on a continuous path that runs from first page to last. With the road a glossy ochre snaking through a matte four-color backdrop, the book has a distinctive look (and, to a toddler, feel). The cyclist's travels from seashore to cityscape and back will inspire both tricyclists and early riders to push on. RED WAGON, written and illustrated by Renala Liwska. 32 pp. Philomel. $16.99. (Picture book; ages 3 to 5) When Lucy, a wide-eyed fox with a pink ribbon, gets a brand-new wagon, all she wants to do is play. But first, her mother insists she take her wagon to the market to stock up. With help from her woodland friends, Lucy transforms chore into adventure: an unexpected downpour is reimagined as pirate-infested waters; the long trip runs through both the Old West and railroad country; and she market itself is a circus tent. With her softly fuzzy critters, Liwska ("The Quiet Book," "The Loud Book!") illustrates the triumph of imagination over impatience. CARS GALORE, by Peter Stein. Illustrated by Boh Staake. 32 pp. Candlewick. $15.99. (Picture book: ages 4 to 8) Like a rewed-up hybrid of Richard Scarry's "Cars and Trucks From A to Z" and P.D. Eastman's "Go, Dog. Go!" this book for those obsessed with all things automotive will also make them laugh. The rhyming text is upbeat and offbeat. "Jazz car, soul car, rock 'n' roll car. Blues car, song car. Sing-along car!" accompanies all manner of vehicles jammed with a saxophone-playing tiger, a kids' band , "The Spahhnkies" and a singer in a shoe-shaped car. (Ignore the ominous final line, "Someday YOU'LL drive!") NEW RED BIKE! written and illustrated by James E. Ransome. 32 pp. Holiday House. $16.95. (Picture book; ages 4 to 8) Every child knows the fine line between a stolen bike and a "borrowed" one. Ransome, winner of a Coretta Scott King award for illustration, writes here about the joys of cycling and the perils of the lost bicycle, and ultimately about the rewards of sharing and riding hikes among friends. With sweet illustrations and simple text, the message will work especially well with the training-wheel set. TILLIE THE TERRIBLE SWEDE How One Woman, a Sewing Needle, and a Bicycle Changed History. By Sue Stauffacher. Illustrated by Sarah McMenemy. 40 pp. Knopf. $17.99. (Picture book; ages 5 to 8) "In the old days, most girls came 10 America with a dream, but all Tillie Anderson had was a needle," begins this winning account of a Swedish immigrant who desires to cycle and to pedal fast - "the speedy, scorchy, racy kind of riding." Anderson, who went on to become the women's racing champion of the world, is a figure fit for admiration, and her story, set against the bicycle craze of the 1890s - and matched with superb illustrations - will rivet readers. WHEELS OF CHANGE How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way). By Sue Macy. Illustrated. 96 pp. National Geographic. $18.95. (Middle grade/young adult; ages 10 and up) "Let me tell you what I think of bicycling," Susan B. Anthony said in 1896. "I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world." In telling the interconnected stories of women's rights and women's cycling, Macy, the author of several nonfiction books profiling notable women, delivers a first-rate account. With archival photographs and reproductions of cycling posters, "Wheels" is as attractive and diverting as any "lady cyclist." PAMELA PAUL