Ages 8-12

"One night, in his dreams, Darius climbed on the newly repaired bicycle and pedaled madly. The bike went faster and faster, and then, suddenly, Darius was in the air, pedaling over the houses and roads, looking down at the earth beneath him."

"A story of magical proportions, ...with threads of love, family, forgiveness and hope." Times Hearld-Record



In this offbeat tale by a Grammy-winning storyteller, a young boy's hopes and an unusual bicycle bring about magical results.

Life is an adventure for ten-year-old Darius Frobisher. His eccentric father Rudy sells insurance four days a week. The other three days he goes on exotic journeys. Then there is Darius's scatterbrained, much-loved babysitter Miss Hastings, who throws water balloons with him and makes delicious burned toast.

But when his father flies off in a hot air balloon and doesn't come back, Darius's happy, carefree life suddenly comes to an end. He is torn away from Miss Hastings and sent to live with his notoriously nasty Aunt Ida, where he has to sleep alone in a cold, damp basement. Most of his waking time is spent trying to dodge the teenage boy next door, who is home from military school and hungry to do horrible things to someone younger than himself.

Darius sees a ray of hope when he finds a rusty old bicycle in the basement and begins to repair it in secret. Could this be the first step toward a reunion with Miss Hastings? Then one day he is startled to see an old man with long flowing hair riding a bicycle across the sky! That gives Darius a strange and wonderful idea. Now he knows what he has to do to get away from his miserable life.

Bill Harley's offbeat, broadly drawn story features a cast of curious and unconventional characters that will easily capture the attention—and imagination—of young readers.




“...this pleasant blend of melodrama and fantasy will make youngsters frown over Darius's misery and then smile in anticipation of the predictably happy ending.” ―School Library Journal

“Harley's easygoing storytelling style will engage readers who like a mildly intrusive but not overly clever ironic narrator. Suspense builds steadily for the perennially appealing put-upon orphan, beset on all sides by the vicious injustice of mean people, and the climax is spectacularly delivered by a miraculous trip on a flying bicycle built in a basement workshop; oh, yeah, this taps into some classic mechanic-geek fantasies.” ―Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“...a good choice for older reluctant readers.” ―School Library Journal Extra Helping




Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers ―VOYA 2007

Georgia Children's Book Award (nominee) ―University of Georgia 2008-2009

Volunteer State Book Awards (master list, 4-6) ―Tennessee Association of School Librarians 2008-2009

Keystone to Reading Book Award (intermediate nominee) ―Keystone State Reading Association 2007-2008

Best Children's Books of the Year ―Bank Street College of Education 2007

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (intermediate) ―Kansas National Education Association 2007