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The Asian Reporter's
BOOK REVIEWS


From The Asian Reporter, V14, #52 (December 21, 2004), page 19.

You go, girl!

Skateboard Mom

By Barbara Odanaka

Illustrated by JoAnn Adinolfi

Putnam, 2004

Hardcover, 30 pages, $15.99

By Josephine Bridges

We never do learn the name of the eight-year-old narrator of this rollicking tale told in rhyming couplets, but he’s got a horned toad called Spike, which he offers to his mother, in addition to his bike and baseball cards, if only she will give him his brand-new birthday skateboard back.

"You don’t want those? Well, how about these:

A scooter? Stilts? A flying trapeze?"

Mom, lying on her son’s skateboard in a meditative pose, the Buddha’s smile gracing her lips, answers, "Nope."

"‘Whatcha gonna do?’ asked my best buddy, Tom.

"‘Whatcha gonna do ’bout your skateboardin’ mom?’"

Dad encourages his son to be patient, pointing out that Mom was once a champion who rode her skateboard not only to the senior prom, but down the aisle at their wedding.

"Right then and there, I knew what to do:

I grabbed my piggy bank and off I flew."

Mom, though, has gotten her feet back on the ground. Is there any child who wouldn’t want to hear a parent say: "‘It won’t happen again’?" Well, yes, as a matter of fact. This kid wants Mom to teach him how to skate. And they almost skateboard happily ever after, but wait! There’s one more surprise in store ….

Barbara Odanaka is apparently just as adept at skateboarding as she is at writing books for kids. She was a member of the Hobie amateur skateboard team when she was a kid, and she also founded the International Society of Skateboarding Moms.

JoAnn Adinolfi, described on the book jacket as "only a good skateboarder in her imagination," draws the sport like a champion, not to mention the photos of Mom at the prom and the wedding. Her palm trees are not to be missed, and the family cat on the back cover is also worth looking for.

The author and illustrator trounce ageism and sexism with such a light touch that most kids won’t even realize they’re learning a valuable lesson from a book that’s so much fun.

Skateboard Mom, you go, girl!

To buy me, visit these retailers:

Powell's Books

  Amazon