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MIKE AND THE BIKE – Debuts July 1, 2005

June 16, 2005 (Los Angeles, CA) — “At a very young age I fell in love with my bike- and not much has changed! I have ridden thousands and thousands of miles around the world! I have made friends from all walks of life! And I have learned that many times in life the things that we enjoy most as children are the things that we turn to and enjoy most throughout our entire lives! To me, there really is nothing like riding a bike, and I am excited to introduce you to someone who reminds me a lot of myself- Mike! I think that you will like reading and riding with Mike, so when you are done, hop on, go for a ride and have some fun! Enjoy the Ride!” – Lance Armstrong

“This is a boy whose name is Mike. This is Mike’s pride and joy – his bike.” So begins MIKE AND THE BIKE, a first-time book from Grammy Award-winning guitarist Michael Ward (Ben Harper, The Wallflowers) whose inspiring tale of a boy, his best friend and the adventures they share together is designed to introduce children to the sport, adventure and fun that surrounds cycling.

As a concerned parent, Michael found himself having to compete in another realm: motivating kids to exercise more and play videogames less. Encouraged by long-time friend, 6-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, Ward created MIKE AND THE BIKE, a story that blends humor and music to connect with today’s kids. Ward discovered cycling when he reached his 20’s, and has dedicated himself to the sport ever since. While on tour with The Wallflowers, a friend recommended Ward invite Lance Armstrong to a concert. Ward didn’t actually expect the legendary cyclist to return his call but Lance did, and the two hit it off immediately. Their friendship continued through the years, with Lance and Michael riding together and Michael regularly performing in benefit concerts for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Illustrated in a retro-contemporary style by Bob Thomson, a musician friend of Michael’s who has become an avid and accomplished cyclist himself, MIKE AND THE BIKE rhymes its way from Mike discovering his bike through our hero enjoying adventures around the world and back home where he goes to bed wearing his helmet, ready for the next day!

Featuring a foreword by Lance Armstrong, an accompanying 30-minute music CD featuring original songs composed and performed by Ward and his son, Tennessee and a special narration by the “Voice of Cycling” Phil Liggett, MIKE AND THE BIKE rides into retail on July 1 on the eve of Lance Armstrong’s final Tour De France before his official retirement from professional cycling.

“I created MIKE AND THE BIKE as a way for parents to help introduce their children to the fun and fitness of cycling. The story and the up-tempo rock songs accompanying the book are written for both children and adults to enjoy. Introducing my son Tennessee, now six years, to the sport has been a highlight of my life. Helping inspire children to discover the world of cycling would be a dream come true.”

MIKE AND THE BIKE is published by Cookie Jar Publishing, the book division of the Cookie Jar Group.

The Cookie Jar Group develops, produces, distributes and markets quality products to children, their caregivers, parents and teachers. Cookie Jar Entertainment, Inc., The Cookie Jar Group’s entertainment operation, is the producer of such renowned children’s productions as “Arthur” and “Caillou.” The educational business of The Cookie Jar Group, Carson-Dellosa ranks as one of the largest providers of supplemental education materials in the US, reaching nearly 2 million teachers with a wide array of books, classroom decoratives, puzzles and games, toys, science kits, flash cards, manipulatives and more. Carson Dellosa company High Reach Learning reaches daycare providers and Head Start centers with curriculum as a direct supplier of early childhood materials for children 3 months to seven years of age. Specialty publisher Rainbow Bridge Publishing operates as a standalone division of Carson-Dellosa. Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Rainbow Bridge Publishing targets the preschool-8 educational segment, and markets its catalog under a number of specialty product lines, which include the best-selling summer workshop series Summer Bridge Activities?. The original summer learning workbook that has sold nearly 6 million copies, Summer Bridge Activities series is designed to keep children academically active during the summer months by reviewing and previewing basic skills in order to “bridge” the new school year.

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