________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 18 . . . . January 15, 2010


How Figure Skating Works.

Keltie Thomas. Illustrated by Stephen MacEachern.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids Books, 2009.
64 pp., pbk. & hc., $12.95 (pbk.), $22.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-897349-59-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-897349-58-8 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Figure skating-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Sherry Faller.

**** /4


Most spins are quiet, but not the scratch spin. It requires the skater to balance near the front of her skate blade and this makes her toe pick scratch the ice as she spins. This upright spin also allows her to spin with incredible speed. "Ooh!" Onlookers gasp as she turns into a blur.

"Aah!" The crowd catches its breath as a skater jumps and whirls through the air. Will he land cleanly without a wobble, or tumble on the ice? Jumps are the most difficult and riskiest moves the skater can attempt. After all, there's just no way to disguise a fall.


Keltie Thomas has done it again. Not only is this book an excellent how-to manual for the beginning skater, but it also is a delight for anyone interested in the sport of figure skating. Strong in Canadian content, the book features skaters like Elvis Stoyko, Toller Cranston and pair champions Jamie Salé and David Pelletier.

     For quick reference, the format includes an index, contents and a glossary called 'Skate Talk'. Action-packed photos of jumps and spins dot the pages interspersed with whimsical drawings. Mirroring this multifaceted, fast-paced sport, the pages teem with challenges, experiments, colour and information. Readers can follow the blueprint details of a skating program or they can analyze a judge's score sheet.

     Thomas has researched her information well, covering everything from the historical evolution of the figure skate to how the ice is cleaned to how skaters must prepare both physically and mentally for their performances. Quick facts are found in 'Skate Bite' boxes and timelines of daring moves demonstrate the changes that have made figure skating more exciting to watch through the years. Each chapter ends with a 'Legends on Ice' tidbit that corresponds with the theme of that chapter. Read about the 'Battle of the Brians' (Orser and Boitano) and 'The Man Was Kung Fu Skating' (Elvis Stoyko).

     This exciting and humourous book is entertaining and will be certainly enjoyed by both children and adults over and over again.

Highly Recommended.

Sherry Faller is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.