Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Testing the Ice by Sharon Robinson

Book Jacket

When Jackie Robinson moves his family from New York City to Connecticut, the beauiful lake on their property is the center of everyone's fun.  The neighborhood children join the Robinson kids for swimming and boating.  But oddly, Jackie never goes near the water.

In a dramatic episode that first winter, Jackie is called upon to test the ice on the lake to make sure it's safe for ice-skating.  But why, Sharon wonders, is he always so afraid to go near the water?

In a stunning metaphor for Jackie Robinson's legendary breaking of the color barrier in Major League Baseball, Sharon Robinson honors her extraordinary father's memory with her warm, graceful storytelling.  Two-time Caldecott Honor Book artist Kadir Nelson has created richly rendered painting that radiate with the beauty and spirit of one of America's finest heroes.


I am not a huge sports fan, and I fear my lack of knowledge of Jackie Robinson affected my opinion of this book about his courage and his family.  Which is strange, actually, because my biggest complaint is that I would have rather seen more about his role in the Civil Rights movement as a colored Major League baseball player than his role as father.

But maybe that wouldn't have been age appropriate.  This is a lovely story about courage, both in big cultural decisions, and in smaller, everyday decisions.  The pictures are also lovely, and I particularly liked the pages that show their new house with its acres of land and lake, long shadows stretching behind the Robinson family.

Not my kind of book, but I think that is my fault, not the books'.

Three out of five broomstick taps.

Release Date: October 2009
Reading Level: Grade K+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection:  MONARCH

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