It All Started with a Bicycle is a hilarious mystery novel for listeners nine through 12. In it we find one level-headed youngster solving two mysteries, assisted (and occasionally hindered) by a cast of eccentrics both young and old. Pam Fischer is coaxed into a treasure hunt by a daft but well-meaning old woman who has come to stay next door to the Fischers' seaside bed-and-breakfast. This is agreeable to Pam, for it gives her a break from the seemingly never-ending list of chores her parents devise "for her benefit."
Even more appealing to her is the idea of work that she would actually get paid for, which she attempts to arrange at the local candy shop, only to find out too late that the place is run by an absolute ogre. With all these forms of torture and solving a mystery, Pam barely has time to consider the most important question of all: Why does she keep seeing her stolen bike being ridden around town, and will she have the courage to confront the brazen thief? The answer is quite unexpected, and in the course of the novel, Pam discovers a whole lot more than she bargained for. By novel's end Pam is a changed person, and the very meaning of the word treasure has changed for her forever.
We listened to this during a long car trip with kids ages 4-17. The older teens enjoyed poking fun at the story line, characters, narrator's voices, and the narrator's pronunciation of some words. The kids who enjoyed the story were about 6-10 years old, with the 12 year old listening but not asking for more. Adults found the story interesting enough to keep listening, and actually some of the information relating to the New Jersey coast was fascinating. The characters use very modern expressions that bordered on offensive to younger ears, but it wasn't anything inappropriate enough to turn off the audiobook. We recommend this book for a good family book during a summer vacation car drive, or for a pre-teen girl anytime.