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The Roller Skates


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Ruth Sawyer (1880-1970), a central figure in the advancement of children's book reading and writing, is a recipient of the Regina Medal (1965) for distinguished contribution to the field of children's literature and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal (1965) for substantial and lasting contributions to children's literature. A frequent and much admired speaker in the United States, she collaborated on two Caldecott Honor winners, The Christmas Anna Angel (1944) and Journey Cake, Ho! (1954), and her book Roller Skates (1937) was a winner of the Newbery Medal.


Gr 4-7-This recording of the 1937 Newbery Award-winning book by Ruth Sawyer (Penguin Putnam, pap. 1986) is read by television and stage actress Kate Forbes. The story takes place in New York City in the 1890s, during the year of 10-year-old Lucinda's "orphanage." That's Lucinda's term for her situation when her parents go to Italy and leave her in the care of Miss Peters and Miss Nettie. Lucinda, enjoying her freedom, explores the city on roller skates and makes friends wherever she goes. She reads Shakespeare with her uncle, puts on her own production of The Tempest, creates a magical Christmas for a little girl from an impoverished family, helps a family protect their fruit stand from attacks by rowdy boys, and has picnics in a vacant lot , among other adventures. Forbes does a good job with the reading, conveying Lucinda's enthusiasm but not becoming overly dramatic. However, the story suffers from age. Certain expressions and references are likely to elude most children (and even many adults). The obligatory tragedies (the death of Trinket, the unexplained murder of a woman Lucinda befriends) seem a little maudlin. There is also some ethnic stereotyping, typical of the time, that is unacceptable today. However, in libraries where Newbery books are always in demand, this audio- book will help make an older book a little more accessible to young readers.-Sarah Flowers, Santa Clara County Library, Morgan Hill, CA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

"A refreshingly lively and genuine story."
-- The New York Times

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