cover image Henry Holton Takes the Ice

Henry Holton Takes the Ice

Sandra Bradley, illus. by Sara Palacios. Dial, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3856-0

Despite its icy setting, Bradley’s debut imparts a warm, encouraging message to kids feeling out of step with their families’ interests. At age seven, redheaded Henry Holton can outskate anyone in the history of his “hockey mad” family, but much to the embarrassment of his parents and sister, his feet fail him whenever he picks up a hockey stick. Watching an ice-dancing demonstration, Henry recognizes his calling: “It was magic. Ice magic!” With the encouragement of his grandmother, Henry finds the right skates for him. Blending scribbly pencils with soft watercolors and collaged elements, Palacios (’Twas Nochebuena) humorously reinforces the Holtons’ obsession with hockey (Henry’s mother drives a Zamboni, and the family dog, Gretsky, wears a hockey jersey) while subtly revealing Henry’s embrace of his individuality: posters and books of animals and robots adorn his room, and his joyful expression while ice dancing confirms he has hit his stride. Equal parts sensitive and comic, it’s a rewarding reminder that there’s more than one way to get in the game. Ages 6–8. Author’s agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. Illustrator’s agent: Kendra Marcus, BookStop Literary Agency. (Jan.)