This picture book aims to inspire young children with its story of a young girl who turns her dream into reality through hard work.
Mackey’s debut effort centers on Sally, an athletic girl growing up in an athletic family for which biking, running and swimming are the stuff of summer vacation. “If you can dream it…and if you work hard at it…you can do whatever you set your mind to do,” her mother tells her. Sally’s dream unfolds step by step: She first joins the same swim team as her brother, Ryan, and bikes to swim practice with him and their mother. Ryan also runs, so Sally does too. Then her mother participates in a triathlon—a sport that incorporates swimming, biking and running—and this inspires Sally to try to run the race herself. After a summer of practice, Sally and her best friend, Cindy, finally tackle the triathlon. With her family watching, Sally wins her first triathlon “Finisher” medal; Cindy gets one, as well. The two girls aren’t competitive with each other, however; they end the book by saying, “There is no one I would rather race with than you!” This picture book differs from others in that its main character is slightly older than its target audience, presenting to readers possibilities that are currently beyond their capabilities. It also shows young people that such dreams are not beyond hope. The visually appealing text uses a typeface that’s similar to hand-printing, and the simple sentences and repetition are clearly aimed at a young audience. The illustrations appear to combine watercolor, ink and marker to create a bright, fresh look. However, on some pages, the characters shown don’t appear to match the people mentioned in the text; on others, Sally’s brother and her father look extremely similar, and Sally’s mother looks like a teenager, which may confuse young readers. Some parents may also wish that Sally had a bookshelf in her bedroom.
An often charming kids’ book that provides a model for family engagement in girls’ sports.