THE GREATEST SKATING RACE by Louise Borden

THE GREATEST SKATING RACE

A World War II Story from the Netherlands
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 11
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KIRKUS REVIEW

One winter day in 1941, in a German-occupied Dutch town called Sluis, ten-year-old Piet Janssen’s ice-skating skills are put to a dangerous test. It’s WWII, and Piet’s schoolmate Johanna Winkelman’s father has been arrested for espionage. Since his friend and her brother are no longer safe at home, Piet must help them escape to their aunt’s house in Brugge, skating over icy canals and outsmarting German soldiers until the three cross the Belgian border. The story of this perilous, bitterly cold flight—a race against time—is told in Piet’s earnest first-person voice and formatted like poetry, with frequent, often inexplicable line breaks. Themes of bravery, strength, and tradition echo throughout—like the “Swisssshh, swissshhh” of the children’s skates. Daly’s lovely illustrations, complete with rosy-cheeked innocents and autumnal tones, effectively evoke a sense of time and place in this slow-moving (but nonetheless moving) tale of a child’s wartime heroism. (information about the Elfstedentocht, author’s note on the history of skating, map) (Picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-689-84502-2
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: McElderry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2004




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