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The Greatest Skating Race
Louise Borden

The Greatest Skating Race

This slice of historical fiction celebrates the bravery and resourcefulness of children. In the winter of 1941, 10-year-old Piet, a strong skater, is enlisted to lead his two young neighbors from Holland to safety over the ice to relatives in Belgium after their father is arrested for sending messages to the allied forces. The three children leave their home in Sluis and bravely skate 16 kilometers on the canals to Brugge. They outwit and hide from German soldiers and make it to their destination in one long, difficult day. Told with immediacy and suspense from Piet's point of view, the engaging narrative is arranged in columns, which is an ideal structure to relate the action in short sentences. Readers learn about the Elfstedentocht, a 200-kilometer skating race, and the boy's hero, skater Pim Mulier. The gorgeously detailed watercolor illustrations capture a sense of the time. The subdued, winter hues of brown and smoky gray are those often found in the oil paintings of Dutch and Flemish masters and match the quiet tone of the text. The book's format maximizes the drama and expanse of the landscape. Use this picture book to introduce curricular units and to give youngsters a vivid child's-eye view of the past.

Born October 30,1949, Author Louise Borden was raised in Cincinnati, She has lived in Ohio her entire life except for two years in Massachusetts right after she was married. Growing up in an old house on a steep street, she attended a small elementary school called Lotspeich. There, all the marvelous shelves of books in the library shaped her into a lifelong reader. Before she became a full-time writer and speaker, she taught preschoolers and first graders and was even a part-owner of a bookstore in Cincinnati.

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