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The Greatest Skating Race : A World War II Story from the Netherlands
by Louise Borden and Niki Daly


Overview - "You're a strong skater, Piet, and you have a quick mind. This is why I know you'll succeed in this important task. I wouldn't ask you to do this if I didn't know it could be done."
In 1941 Piet, a young Dutch boy from Sluis, gets the assignment of a lifetime: He must skate along the frozen canals of the Netherlands and across the Belgian border, in order to guide two neighborhood children to their aunt's house in Brugge, where the children will remain for the duration of World War II.
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More About The Greatest Skating Race by Louise Borden; Niki Daly
 
 
 
Overview
"You're a strong skater, Piet, and you have a quick mind. This is why I know you'll succeed in this important task. I wouldn't ask you to do this if I didn't know it could be done."
In 1941 Piet, a young Dutch boy from Sluis, gets the assignment of a lifetime: He must skate along the frozen canals of the Netherlands and across the Belgian border, in order to guide two neighborhood children to their aunt's house in Brugge, where the children will remain for the duration of World War II. Their father has been taken by German soldiers, and the children are no longer safe in Sluis -- but the journey with Piet, past soldiers and enemies, is fraught with danger.
Along the treacherous path to Belgium the three children skate using every bit of speed, courage, and strength they can muster. All the time they try to appear like innocent schoolchildren simply out for a skate, for if the German soldiers discover their escape plan, the children will be in grave trouble. During the journey Piet thinks about his hero, Pim Mulier -- the first person to ever skate the Elfstedentocht, the famous and prestigious Eleven Towns Race that takes place in his country. For years Piet has dreamed of proving that he is a skater as brave and strong as Pim Mulier -- but he had never imagined that his test would fall under such dangerous circumstances.
Louise Borden's moving text captures all the tension, excitement, and fear that comes with Piet's mission, while Niki Daly's evocative illustrations bring the children and their perilous journey into vivid focus.


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Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780689845024
  • ISBN-10: 0689845022
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publish Date: September 2004
  • Page Count: 44
  • Reading Level: Ages 9-12
  • Dimensions: 9.54 x 11.32 x 0.45 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Fiction > Historical - Europe
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Sports & Recreation - Winter Sports
Books > Juvenile Fiction > Historical - Military & Wars

 
BookPage Reviews

Journey by ice

Set in 1941, The Greatest Skating Race: A World War II Story from the Netherlands by Louise Borden has all the makings of a classic. A Dutch boy named Piet takes on the mission of a lifetime when he is asked to skate across the canals of the Netherlands into Belgium, where he will serve as a guide to two children who are fleeing from the Germans.

Facing threats from enemy soldiers, braving sub-zero temperatures and chill winds, Piet and the youngsters set out on their journey disguised as students enjoying a day on the ice. To help speed them on their precarious mission, Piet thinks of his hero, Pim Mulier, the first person to successfully complete the Elfstedentocht, a much-celebrated skating race that takes place every year on the canals and waterways of his homeland. With Pim as his inspiration, Piet leads his two friends to safety across the frozen landscape in an act of courage that will inspire readers of all ages. Niki Daly's impressionistic illustrations seem to belong to the era. His fresh-faced young characters and smoky winter scenes add to the timelessness of this remarkable tale.

Julie Hale writes from Austin, where snowflakes are rarely seen.

 
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