Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
The Greatest Skating Race: A World War II Story from the Netherlands

The Greatest Skating Race: A World War II Story from the Netherlands

Fall 2004 Picture Books
Ages: 9 - 16 yrs.
Author: Robie H. Harris
Illustrator: Niki Daly
ISBN: 0689845022
Hardcover Price: $18.95
As she did in The Little Ships, Louise Borden focuses on World War II, this time in a fictionalized account of three children who must skate to safety along the frozen canals of the Netherlands. Incorporated into the narrative is information about the Elfstedentocht, an eleven-town skating race which has been held at irregular intervals since 1909. This year the young skaters must evade German soldiers on patrol, find their way through unknown territory, and persevere despite the intense cold and long distances. Daly's color choices are carefully matched to the story's mood: warm yellows for the interior family scenes, dour grays and browns when the Nazis appear, and silvery blue expanses of ice as the children traverse the canals. The tale and its background are absorbing.
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard   ©2004 Parents' Choice
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard is the Coordinator of Youth Services for the Arlington Public Library system. She has taught courses on children’s and young adult literature at the Catholic University of America and the University of Virginia. She has served on both the Newbery and Caldecott Award Committees of the American Library Association and has chaired the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee and the May Hill Arbuthnot Award Committee. She is a member and past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC and has chaired the Washington Post–Book Guild Nonfiction Award Committee. She is a founding member of Capitol Choices, an organization of professionals in the field of children’s literature in the greater Washington DC area. She regularly reviews children’s literature and audio productions for a variety of national publications.

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