Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Review: Henry Holton Takes the Ice

Publish March 3, 2015

In Henry Holton Takes the Ice, debut author, Sandra Bradley, introduces a charming character that shines on skates.  The athletic Holton family tree includes many Most Valuable Players, so when Henry glides across the ice with great aplomb, it comes as no big surprise.  However, much to his parents’ chagrin, when a hockey stick is placed in Henry’s hands, he becomes a menace to the sport.  Instead of dreaming of hat tricks and cross checks, the youngster yearns to ice dance and is undeterred by his father’s booming edicts of “We’re a HOCKEY FAMILY,” and his sister’s taunts.  Henry’s grandmother not only gives him the precious gift of acceptance, but also a pair of her own childhood figure skates. Sara Palacios’ coloured pencil illustrations humourously capture the Holton’s hockey obsession:  Henry’s mother parks her Zamboni in front of their house, and the family dog, Gretzky, wears a Number 99 jersey.  As a baby, Henry teethe on hockey pucks with a laboured, furrowed brow, but when he later finds his true calling on the ice, he is depicted with a closed-eye, blissfully transcendent expression on his face. Written with wit and sensitivity, this is an uplifting story of self awareness and individuality.  Score one for Henry!

Henry Holton Takes the Ice

Sandra Bradley
Illustration EN: Sara Palacios
Penguin Random House
ISBN 13: 978-0-8037-3856-0

Linda Ludke
Linda Ludke

Linda Ludke is a librarian at London Public Library.  Her reviews have appeared in Quill and QuireSchool Library Journal and CM:  Canadian Review of Materials.  When she’s not reading and writing she also loves searching for vintage treasures.

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