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Winterlude, Winter Sports

The Ottawa Public Library is back to share some of their favourite books for children with us. This month’s post is by Sue Townley from the Sunnyside Branch.

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Tacky and the Winter Games by Helen Lester
Tacky the penguin is back to compete at the penguin winter Olympics. While the other penguins train and prepare Tacky is his usual lazy self and continues to sleep through the exercises and eat all his favourite foods, pizza, chips doughnuts. In the end Tacky saves the day and leads his team to victory in his fun and zany way. A fun read aloud, especially during winter Olympics years.

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Pearl’s New Skates by Holly Keller
Pearl receives a pair of skates for her birthday and can’t wait to try them out. She practices her twirls and spins and dreams of how she will gracefully skate over the lake. When the lake finally freezes over she joyfully heads out to skate. She soon learns that it is not as easy as she thought, as she falls head over heels and soon wants to give up. With some encouragement from her Uncle Jack she learns about persistence and succeeds in enjoying herself skating.

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Hans Brinker by Bruce Coville
A beautifully illustrated picture book version of the classic Mary Mapes Dodge tale. This version is much shortened but keeps the key elements of the original story. Hans bravely finds medical help for his father, finds his family’s missing money, and shows his strength of character during the famous skating race. The illustrations by Laurel Long contribute to the classic, nostalgic feel of the book. A magical wintery classic for the older reader.

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Polar Skater by Sally Grindley
With charming, fanciful illustrations by Heli Hieta the reader is captured by the joy of a young girl learning to skate by herself for the first time. She slides off into an imaginary winter world filled with walrus’, polar bears, wolves and snow geese. Her happiness is contagious and the reader is swept up into the wonder of winter. With rhyming text this book makes a wonderful wintery read aloud for the preschool set.

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The Greatest Skating Race by Louise Borden
With talk of the Elfstadentocht taking place this year in Holland this is a perfect read to introduce young readers to the excitement of long distance skating. Set in 1941 in war torn Holland, we are introduced to ten year old Piet who must help his young neighbours escape from the Nazis, who have imprisoned their father for passing messages to the Allies. Piet, a strong skater, leads them along the canals the sixteen kilometres between Sluis and Brugge, Belgium, outwitting German soldiers. In the story we learn about Pim Mueller, the founder of the Elfstadentocht, the Eleven City race that takes place on the canals of Holland on winters the weather allows the 200 kilometre race to take place. Filled with action and tension this is a good read aloud for the older reader.

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Sam the Zamboni Man by James Stevenson
Young Matt comes to visit his grandfather, a zamboni driver, in this charming intergenerational tale. Matt has never seen a hockey game or a zamboni and when his grandfather takes him to see his first game his gets to see how important his grandfather is. His grandfather, a former hockey player, awes Matt with not only his zamboni driving skills but his skating skills as well, when he takes Matt to visit the stadium on a quiet night. The highlight of the trip is when Matt gets an opportunity to drive the zamboni himself. His grandfather promises to teach him to skate and play hockey next time he comes for a visit. This combination of hockey and machinery will surely be a hit with younger hockey fans.

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Just One Goal by Robert Munsch
Robert Munsch and hockey is a perfect combination. A fun filled story of a girl named Ciara who desperately wants a hockey rink on the river so that she does not have to go all the way across town to play hockey. With a bit of determination and some help from her father she builds that rink and everyone comes out to play. Somehow Ciara’s team cannot seem to win a game and by the final game Ciara is determined to score the winning goal. She is in a race with spring to get her goal before spring melts her rink. A rollicking, action filled tale by one of Canada’s great storytellers.

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Sophie Skates by Rachael Isadora
Rachael Isadora, best known for her ballet stories, turns her attention to the world of figure skating. Sophie, age eight, is determined to become a professional figure skater. Sophie’s day begins at 5:00 a.m., with skating lessons and continues through school and then back to the rink to skate some more. This book is an excellent balance between story and information with details about how to properly tie skates and ice-skating moves. With action filled illustrations this is a nice introduction to the hard work and dedication required of a young athlete.