Sugar and Ice
by Kate Messner
NY: Walker Books, 2010
ages 9 - 12
available on Amazon and soon at local libraries
chosen Amazon's Best Book for December, 2010!
Claire Boucher loves to skate every year in her small town's Maple Show, first helping the little kids at her local ice rink perform, and then skating with her friends and having fun with her routines. But Claire's life changes completely this when she is spotted by a big-time skating coach and offered a full scholarship to the prestigious Lake Placid training center. Claire adjusts to her new routine, where skating lessons take up every ounce of free time. Homework is squeezed in during breaks in the locker room, and on long car rides up to Lake Placid. But it's harder to adjust to a new group of friends.
Kids will love exploring what it means to start competing in major shows, how Claire has to figure out how to skate in her head and master the butterflies in her stomach, and how to handle the mean, super-competitive girls she's now skating with. My favorite image that I'll take away from this story is Claire describing that the butterflies in her stomach are still there, but now they're flying in formation.
Messner creates a story where the characters feel like friends you've had a long time. Claire is full of layers and readers get to see many sides of her personality. The plot moves along at a good pace, keeping you interested and yet allowing you to see Claire's dilemmas and frustrations develop. Each of the supporting characters feel like real people, not just parts of the story or cogs in the wheel. It's a lovely story I'd highly recommend, to skaters and non-skaters alike.
Bundle this new book with a hat, scarf and pair of mittens, and tuck in tickets to your local ice rink or a set of ice skating lessons, and you'll make a perfect present!
Tomorrow, Kate Messner will stop by Great Kid Books for a guest post about juggling writing, teaching and being a mom. I'm looking forward to getting a glimpse how she does it all!
See other reviews and learn more about Sugar and Ice at these blogs - there's love pouring out all over:
Rasco from RIF
Fuse #8 on School Library Journal
The Reading Zone
Writing. For Real.
The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion will go to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you). Thank you for your support!