Monday, October 5, 2009

Testing the Ice, A True Story About Jackie Robinson

By Sharon Robinson
Published by Scholastic Press
Pages: 40
Ages: 9-12

When Jackie Robinson retires from baseball and moves his family to Connecticut, the beautiful 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, the children beg to go ice skating on the lake. Jackie says they can go--but only after he tests the ice to make sure it's safe. The children prod and push to get Jackie outside, until hesitantly, he finally goes.

Like a blind man with a stick, Jackie taps on the ice's surface, when suddenly howling and roaring sounds come out of the lake! It is only then that Sharon realizes why she's never seen her father in the water -- Jackie doesn't know how to swim! But her horror changes to relief as Jackie bravely taps his way to the middle of the lake -- and declare it safe!

My children are younger than the ages recommended for this book and they still loved it. My son loved it as he's a huge baseball fan and loved learning about one of America's greatest baseball players. Sharon does such a great job at pulling the reader into this story. It starts out talking about her father's accomplishments and what he endured as an African American baseball player. Then she talks about this beautiful home and property they moved into in CT that had a lovely pond that they would all swim in, except her father as he doesn't know how to swim. When it freezes over, the children all ask their father if they can ice skate. Mr. Robinson proceeds to test the ice for the children to make sure it's safe before they ice skate.

The story is one that left me wishing I was there to experience it. If the story doesn't capture you, the artwork will. It's a beautifully written story with such beautiful art work that will capture your attention.

Highly recommend for any baseball fan and any fan of Jackie Robinson.

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I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~