Ralph Sprockett is the story of a man who knows everything there is to know about bicycles, except how to ride one.
An expert bicycle mechanic, thanks to constantly crashing and subsequently having to repair bikes as a child, he is admired by everyone in town for his skill and knowledge, so much so that they have even started refering to bicycles as 'sprockets' in his honour. No one knows his deep, dark secret - not even his wife knows that the great Ralph Sprockett cannot ride a bike. When his friend Noel, who is a photographer, announces that he would like to take a picture of Ralph riding his bike down a local hill, Ralph finally has to confront his fears, with unexpectedly dramatic results.
Originally published in France in 1995, Ralph Sprockett is the perfect companion to Monsieur Lambert, Sempé's earlier graphic novel.
'Sempe goes about showing us up with great good nature. - his drawing is consistently delightful.' Anthea Bell, Sunday Telegraph, 24 September 2006 'drawings [that] are eloquent in every language.' Quentin Blake, The Week, 23 September 2006 'The world Sempe draws is full of frustrated lovers and pretentious intellectuals, rural worriers and urban ennui. He doesn't point fingers, and he doesn't judge. He simply makes you smile - Sempe's work expresses the quietly observed humour of a man who can't quite believe how lucky he has been. To his surprise, he has found work in the small, sunny spot reserved for very few dessinateurs humorists.' The Glasgow Herald, 14 October 2006 '[Sempe] is, par excellence, the master of the panoramic cartoon. - Captions [ - ] have been brilliantly translated by Anthea Bell. - There are many talented French cartoonists. [ - ] [Sempe] is the most universal - Sempe cartoons are a kind of illustrative haiku. In such small space he conveys a great amount of meaning. - an infinite delight in the complexity and ambivalence - and the humour - of the everyday and the ordinary.' The Independent, 21 October 2006 '[Sempe] started life as a journeyman cartoonist, drawing single gags. From there he has gradually broadened out and blossomed, acquiring colour and boldness and breadth, until it is hard to call him anything but an artist. - you can't really lose with Sempe.' Miles Kington, The Spectator, 16 December 2006
For Ages: 9 - 11 years old
For Grades: 4 - 6
Number Of Pages: 96
Published: 23rd October 2010
Publisher: Phaidon Press Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 27.2 x 23.0 x 1.4
Weight (kg): 0.53
Edition Number: 1