The American Library Associations advanced review of The Magic Bicycle in Booklist, Editors Choice’97 concluded that “Readers will identify with Danny, sympathize with his moral dilemma, and enjoy watching him wrestle with the tough choices that come with his magical bicycle powers.”While hiding in a haunted house from three oversized thugs who beat him, take and eat his lunch, steal his school money, and batter his bicycle, Danny meets Kalyde, a young Cor-ror-o’lan alien injured while escaping Federal agents.
School Library Journal, March 1998, tells how “Danny, 13, and his talking cat travel from . . . Texas through time and space on a magical shape-changing bicycle given to him by an alien that he rescued. His quest is to consult famous thinkers (Socrates, Franklin, Einstein) and others about the wisdom of time travel and changing the past.
Since the deaths of his mother and sister, life with his estranged father has been sad, and he thinks if he can change the past, it will improve. In the end, Danny discovers that answers were not as important as the quest itself, which has made him more self-reliant and confident.”
The reviewer added . . . “the premise is engaging, the flow of the story line is as bumpy as the rainbow road that Danny rides back in time.”
In the United Kingdom, Lord Ralph Harris of High Cross said he “had a jolly wheeze” giving The Magic Bicycle to Anna, one of his lovely grand daughters in France. “She read it at one sitting before going back to school.”
She wrote, “The Magic Bicycle is not only an exciting yarn, but beyond the action the moral lesson can be identified. For example, we are shown how strong friendship, loyalty and courage can be. I couldn’t put it down, so drawn was I to all the characters and the unfolding story. Friendly Danny, who leads us across the path of time, and Murg, his wise outspoken cat teach us a thing or two about living, like how to depend on our own willpower, and how helping others can be just as satisfying as helping only yourself.
Everyone must have dreamt of being able to travel back in time. In The Magic Bicyclethat dream is fulfilled. At the same time, Danny uses the opportunity to show how to stop, listen, and think of others, and so to act less selfishly in making good use of our opportunities.
Ines Pacheco of Indianapolis, Indiana wrote the publisher that “I really like The Magic Bicycle. Danny is a great character with believable feelings and actions. I felt like I was there with him as he won the bike race, as he got chased down to the haunted house and as he soured through the air.”
“The best book I ever read,” was the comment of Lindis Chetwynd, a young book lover in Chapel Hill, N. C. Public schools during a week of writing seminars conducted by William Hill late in 1997.
In Orange Park, Florida, Stephanie Zivkovic “recommended this book to people who like adventure and travel. I liked the book because it is exciting. My favorite character is Murg the Calico Cat. I like her because she sometimes can be wiser than humans. . . . I think this is a book that would especially be enjoyable if the reader is age 7 to 14.
Younger children would enjoy having their parents read it to them. Once I started this book, I couldn’t put it down until I had read the entire book. William Hill (the author) is a very good writer. I can’t wait to hear about what happens to these characters in the magic bicycle ll. Its a five star book.”
Evan Crankshaw, who had read books in Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina and everywhere else his parents will allow, said, “The Magic Bicycle was an excellent read. I could really relate to Danny. He’s a colorful mixture of everybody I’ve ever known. His meeting with Kah-laye-dee, an alien visitor hiding in a ‘haunted mansion, was so enjoyable I read it twice. And the complexity of changing time was incredibly clever. I love this book.”
Comments in the Booklist review, January, 1998, continue with, “Danny helps Kalyde and, in return, receives a bicycle capable of transporting him through time and space. He decides to return to the past to prevent the accident that devastated his family, but he first goes back in time to ask his mother and sister what they would do if they were in his shoes and to seek the advice of historical figures known for their wisdom, such as Socrates and Ben Franklin.
Uneven pacing causes some events to drag and others to seem rushed, but the different elements of this ambitious story – time travel, history, science – are balanced fairly successfully.”
“The characterizations are strong.” It is recommended for fantasy collections.