Thirteen-year-old Marcel lives in a small village in southwestern France. WWI has been raging in Europe and the Germans now occupy his country. Before they came, he loved to ride his bike and he dreamed of competing in the Tour de France. When Marcel learns that the loaves of bread he’s been delivering for his parents—they own the bakery in town—are means of transporting secret messages for the Resistance movement, he’s both terrified and proud. He doesn’t let on that he knows though; he wants to keep doing his part to help defeat the evil Germans. And when his new friend Delphine turns out to need his help, Marcel is forced to make a choice that will help her family escape to safety across the border—or not. Read about the ride of Marcel’s life in The Bicycle Spy.
Praise for The Bicycle Spy
“McDonough’s third-person narrative tells Marcel’s story in simple, straightforward prose, seamlessly incorporating historical detail, including information about Marcel’s passion, the Tour de France. A fine story of war, friendship, and taking a stand against injustice.”
“…History seamlessly meets fiction as readers learn about a snippet of life in World War II Europe. Marcel is often frightened when he has to go through various checkpoints, where soldiers question his every move. However, he uses his love for cycling to get him through these dangerous times. The brief histories provided at the end of the story and the glossary of terms offer additional background and support for students just learning about this time period. VERDICT This would be a great resource in a World War II unit. Students will become engrossed in Marcel’s exploits as he attempts to save his family from an awful fate.”
–School Library Journal
“Clearly written, suspenseful, and accessible to a younger audience than most escape stories involving Jewish children during the war, this chapter book has classroom potential. An engaging story with an attractive jacket…”
“A winning protagonist propels this WWII adventure, which is set in 1942 in a Nazi-occupied French village…readers should be riveted as Marcel encourages his parents to help Delphine’s family escape and helps put a daring rescue into action… [An] engrossing introduction to WWII…”