Friday, September 23, 2005

Sebastian's Roller Skates

Sebastian's Roller Skates is a charming tale about a shy little boy who wants to be able to talk, but freezes up when spoken to. One day he finds a pair of roller skates on a park bench. He tries to skate and falls. He swears never to skate again.

But the skates are still on the park bench the next day and Sebastian decides to try again. Slowly, slowly he improves taking tiny, tiny strokes. One afternoon a dog escapes and runs up to Sebastian and begins licking his face. Sebastian grabs onto the dog's leash to steady himself and the dog takes off. Sebastian's ride through the park exhilarates him. He can skate! And fast. After his wild ride, Sebastian can do anything. He tells the barber, "I know the names of all the most important deserts in the world and where they are: the Sahara in Africa, the Gobi in Asia, and the Atacama in South Africa. And this time I don't want my head to look like a billiard ball."

Joan de Déu Prats' text is very sweet and tells a tale all the shy kids in the world (myself included) can appreciate. Francesc Rovira's illustrations are beautiful and each page incorporates a slowly changing collage on its edge. The collages are dark and newpapery at the beginning and close the book in tissue-papery brilliance. From Kane/Miller books, who specializes in translating and publishing foreign books for U.S. children.