________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 33 . . . . May 1, 2015


Henry Holton Takes the Ice.

Sandra Bradley. Pictures by Sara Palacios.
New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers (Distributed in Canada by Penguin Canada), 2015.
32 pp., hardcover, $18.99.
ISBN 978-0-8037-3856-0.

Subject Headings:
Ice skating-Fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

**½ /4



Henry sat in the bleachers, mouth open, heart pounding. The skaters below were like kites - brightly colored kites, swirling and twirling in the wind. There were no sticks, no pucks, no helmets or pads. Only bodies. Moving with the music.

One little girl, the same size as Henry, dashed down the ice, spun like a top, and finished with one foot high in the air.

It was magic.
Ice magic!

      Not everyone conforms with cultural or even family expectations - that's the lesson of Kingston writer Sandra Bradley's first picture book about a boy who loves to skate - figure skate, rather than play hockey.

      Henry is born into a hockey family. Mom, Dad, sister Sally, even Grandma can shoot and score. Henry can skate but can't maneuver with a piece of lumber (a hockey stick) in his hands. When Henry sees his first ice dancing performance, he announces that he will no longer play hockey - he wants to wear figure skates. The family is shocked - his sister, echoing a stereotypical prejudice, chimes in, "Ice dancing is for girls." It's Grandma who helps the family see that Henry knows his own mind, and they become his stalwart fans.

      Henry Holton Takes the Ice is a feel-good story, hopefully a lesson for children and their parents that we all need to find our own way to express ourselves and be happy. There are no peculiar twists in the plot which would have made the story more exciting.

      Sara Palacios' images have an innocent appeal that almost looks as if a child drew them. She uses a variety of media to complement coloured pencil shading. The members of the family are atypically carrot-topped redheads, and light shades of orangey brown, green and muted blue are mixed with graphite, cut paper and watercolours. Palacios then completes the picture with Photoshop. The drawings are hockey and winter-oriented - the dog, appropriately named Gretzky, wears a 99 on his hockey sweater and balances pucks on its nose for fun.

      Young children gravitate toward hockey stories; Henry Holton Takes the Ice can teach them that there's more than one way to score.


Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

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

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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