cover image Sophie Skates

Sophie Skates

Rachel Isadora. Putnam Publishing Group, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23046-2

Isadora (Lili at Ballet) opens the window on another discipline with this engaging and informative book. Eight-year-old Sophie has set her sights on becoming a professional ice skater, devoting five mornings and three afternoons a week to lessons at the rink, and now she prepares for a competition. The story line gracefully shares space with watercolor sidebars that give behind-the-scenes background (for example, the proper way to tie a skate, the types of clothes skaters wear, how to get up after a fall). A master at capturing bodies in motion, Isadora also delineates the various moves, from backward wiggles (""Move your hips from side to side and pretend you're a puppy wagging your tail"") to laybacks, toe loops and spins. There's even a little ballet tucked in, as Sophie takes two ballet lessons a week. Perhaps most importantly, however, Isadora captures the sheer joy that fuels young athletes: thinking about the competition, Sophie says, ""I won't have to remember to smile. This program is so much fun!"" A winning score for Isadora once again. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)