________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 10 . . . . January 19, 2001

cover The Best on Ice: The World's Top Figure Skaters.

Patty Cranston.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 1999.
32 pp., pbk., $6.95.
ISBN 1-55074-581-6.

Subject Headings:
Skaters-Juvenile literature.
Skating-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2 - 5 / Ages 7 - 10.

Review by Deborah Mervold.

*** /4


Everyone thought Elvis Stojko would win the 1998 Olympics. He was the World Champion, and he had won the silver medal at the last Olympics.

But Elvis had a secret. He was badly injured and in great pain. Only his family and coaches knew. He didn't want people to feel sorry for him. He didn't want to talk about the pain. Elvis wanted to focus on his skating. Practices were torture for Elvis. He still kept his secret. Other athletes would have dropped out of the Olympics, but not Elvis. When it came time to perform, Elvis spun and jumped like a champion. As soon as Elvis finished skating, his face twisted in pain. Finally the whole world knew his secret. Elvis limped to the boards. His coach had to help him off the ice. But Elvis had skated his best. Despite being so badly injured, he won a silver medal.

This new title is one of three books on the sport of ice skating that has been authored by Patty Cranston, with Magic on Ice and Superstars on Ice being the other two titles. Patty Cranston is a former junior Canadian figure skating champion, choreographer and coach. The 15 skaters, who are presented in random order and cover a wide range of international skaters, include: Tara Lipinski, Elvis Stojko, Jenni Meno and Todd Sand, Irina Slutskaia, Elizabeth Punsalan and Jerod Swallow, Tod Eldredge, Shae-lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz, Alexei Jagudin and Michelle Kwan. These top ranked skaters are each given a two-page spread with photographs on each page.

      Each spread is written in clear, concise language suitable for younger readers. Positive information is given with reasons as to why the skater is influential in the world of skating. Information is brief but detailed enough so that readers will learn something about each skater. Text includes some specific information as well as questions or points of considerations for the reader. The text may encourage further study on the skaters for interested readers.

      Each spread is colourful with graphics at the top of each page. Illustrations are framed and positioned for interest. Besides the main text for each skater, there is also a one sentence summary given in bold print while country of origin, birthdays, and hobbies or favourite food are included in a partial box. For example, with "Michelle Kwan, Grace and Courage," the accompanying sentence says, "When Michelle was 13 years old, she became the youngest American to compete at the World Championships." Younger or reluctant readers would be able to read the descriptor and enjoy the illustrations without reading the text.

      The book can be enjoyed on many levels. The information is interesting for skating fans and modern biography fans while the format is appealing for the intended age level. A "Table of Contents" containing a phrase descriptor makes the text easily accessible for research or general reading.

      The Best on Ice would be an excellent addition to public, school and personal libraries for reluctant readers and skating fans in the early and middle years.

Highly Recommended.

Deborah Mervold is a teacher-librarian and a Grade 12 English teacher at W. P. Sandin Composite High School in Shellbrook, SK.

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