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The Greatest Skating Race: A World War II…

The Greatest Skating Race: A World War II Story from the Netherlands

by Louise Borden

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Ten-year-old Piet loves skating the canals of the Netherlands as most everyone grows up doing. When the Germans take away his friend Johanna's father, Piet's grandfather asks Piet to take Johanna and Joop to their aunt's house across the border in Belgium. The journey is 16 km and they must get there before it gets dark. At the border, German guards stop them but Piet draws on his courage and successfully explains they are only going to an aunt's house to fix her bicycle and show her his perfect spelling test. The book conveys the dominance of skating in this area and how intriguing it is to skate the canals from town to town. Compelling story.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
I'm not sure how much of this story is true.

This is a heroic story, regardless of how real it is, of how a boy skated his friends to safety from Holland during WWII. The danger is a bit understated, so this book is suitable for more sensitive children. ( )
  conuly | Jul 12, 2010 |
Story of how two children were skated to safety from occupied Holland during WWII. Notes at the end of the book explain the Elfstedentocht, the 200-km traditional skating race in Holland.
  UWC_PYP | Feb 2, 2008 |
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For Margaret McElderry, with love - L. B.
For Margaret McElderry, my Great American - love, N.D.
First words
In December 1941 I was ten years old... and at that time what I cared about most was skating on the frozen canals of Sluis, the town where we lived.
I learned this love from my father and mother. In the Netherlands children learn to skate as soon as they learn to walk.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
"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."
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0689845022, Hardcover)

"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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:47 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

During World War II in the Netherlands, a ten-year-old boy's dream of skating in a famous race allows him to help two children escape to Belgium by ice skating past German soldiers and other enemies.

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