________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 14 . . . . March 15, 2002

cover The Best Figure Skater in the Whole Wide World.

Linda Bailey. Illustrated by Alan and Lea Daniel.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2001.
32 pp., cloth, $15.95.
ISBN 1-55074-879-3.

Subject Headings:
Skating-Juvenile fiction.
Disappointment-Juvenile fiction.
Self-confidence-Juvenile fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

**** /4


All Lizzy wanted was to be the best figure skater in the whole wild world.

When the World Championships came on TV, she watched every minute. Whatever the skaters did, Lizzy did the same. She twirled, she leaped, she spun around the living room floor. She lunged past the couch, and she lutzed around the lamp. It was the best feeling Lizzy had ever, ever had.

For someone who does not yet know how to figure skate, Lizzie has very high aspirations. As an initial step, Lizzie's mother buys Lizzie new figure skates and enrolls her in lessons at the local community centre. Lizzie's first lesson finds her more often falling to the ice rather than skating on it. Wanting to become a world champion figure skater, Lizzie practises more than anyone else in her figure skating class. When Lizzie's figure skating teacher announces that the class is going to skate the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the winter carnival, Lizzie eagerly waits to hear what role she will play. One by one, the teacher matches roles with students' names, but Lizzie does not hear her name called. Lizzie experiences a great emotional letdown when she learns that, along with a number of other unselected children, she will just be a tree. On show day, the trees are to skate onto the ice and then become an immobile forest. However, after the principal skaters' routines are complete and as Lizzie is leading the other trees in exiting the ice surface, she begins an impromptu performance which, much to the amusement of the audience, is mimicked by her fellow trees.

     Any child (or adult) who has been among the last selected for some athletic or cultural event will identify with Lizzie's initial disappointment and will then cheer her ingenuity in creating a greater role for herself and her fellow bit players. Children will also appreciate the emotional support provided to Lizzie throughout the story by her mother. The Daniels' mixed media artwork effectively captures Lizzie's range of emotions as well as her awkwardness on the ice.

Highly Recommended.

Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children's and adolescent literature in the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364