Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SAMANTHA ON A ROLL by Linda Ashman Kirkus Star


by Linda Ashman & illustrated by Christine Davenier

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-374-36399-4
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Things get a bit dicey when plucky Samantha experiments with her new roller skates in one frightening, hilarious inaugural “roll” through town.

Eager to try out her new roller skates, Samantha’s undaunted when her mother’s too busy to help her learn. Instead of putting the skates away as her mother instructs, Samantha puts them on and carefully cruises “through the kitchen, through the den, / Down the hall and back again.” Positive her mother won’t mind, Samantha slides out the door and skates down the sidewalk and up Hawthorn Hill, where “she doesn’t note the long, STEEP slope” until it’s too late and she’s speeding downhill, very much out of control. Clueless how to brake, Samantha creates havoc as she flies by Will chasing butterflies, bumps into Matt playing ball, snags Katie’s kite string, collides with an outdoor bridal party, “Slaloms through the marching band, / Overturns the ice cream stand” and soars up a skateboard ramp. The jaunty text in easy-to-remember couplets starts slowly as Samantha inches along on her new skates and accelerates into a sweeping crescendo memorializing her downward descent. Colored-pencil–and-watercolor illustrations rely on energized, quick lines to maximize Samantha’s exaggerated facial expressions and frantic body language as she careens across the page.

A memorable first skate by an irresistible imp. (Picture book. 4-7)