cover image SKATEBOARD MOM


Barbara Odanaka, , illus. by JoAnn Adinolfi. . Putnam, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23867-3

When the narrator gets a skateboard for his eighth birthday, he discovers his mother's dark secret: she's a former skateboard queen. Co-opting his skateboard as soon as the wrapping paper is off, Mom executes ollies and spins like a pro, seemingly deaf to her son's requests that she return the gift to its rightful owner. Dad counsels patience and understanding: "She used to be a champion, your dear ol' mom./ She even rode her skateboard to our Senior Prom." The boy realizes there's only one way to get his skateboard back: buy Mom one of her own, then ask, "Would you, could you, teach me to skate?" Debut author Odanaka—who is founder of the International Society of Skateboarding Moms—hits a few bumps in her rhyming, but she makes Mom's goofy greatness worth cheering. Adinolfi (My Teacher's Secret Life ), working in fluorescent hues and a genially raw mixed-media style, leaves no doubt that the title character is a woman possessed: Mom has bright, half-moon eyes perpetually focused on the horizon, electrified hair and a grin worthy of the Cheshire cat. But she's more than willing to share—after all, isn't that what moms do? Ages 4-up. (May)