Skating Wild on an Inland Sea

Skating Wild on an Inland Sea

A review of Skating Wild on an Inland Sea by Jean E. Pendziwol

Published on November 1, 2023

Skating Wild on an Inland Sea
Jean E. Pendziwol
Illustrated by Todd Stewart

Groundwood Books

Two children wake at dawn and eat oatmeal by a crackling fire in a solitary cabin in the woods. In the distance, the call of the wolf breaks the silence of the morning. In classic children’s literature, the wolf signals danger, but in Skating Wild on an Inland Sea, the howl beckons the children to venture out, bravely alone, into the distinctly Canadian chill for a more joyful purpose: an open-air skate on the majestic Lake Superior – also called by its Ojibwe name, Gichigami.

It’s rare to find a children’s book in prose as captivating as this. Author Jean E. Pendziwol weaves the scenes with a poet’s loom: “A pair of ravens croak at the / top of a pine, / and chick-a-dee-dee-dees / greet us from the branches of birch and alder. / A blue jay scolds— / thief thief thief! / We laugh and tell him / we’ve only come to steal / this moment— / turquoise ice, / the wind, / a memory.”

The illustrations are as attractive as the writing style. Stewart’s hand captures the stark beauty of a winter’s morning and the hushed majesty of rising light. To look at this book is to feel the sting of winter in your lungs and the wet kiss of condensation collecting in a scarf.

Skating Wild on an Inland Sea is a perfect book for fall, as readers young and old settle into the quiet mood of winter and look forward to the thrill of skating.mRb

Meaghan Thurston is a Montreal-based arts and science writer, co-editor of the anthology With the World to Choose From: Seven Decades of the Beatty Lecture at McGill University, and mother to two budding readers.


1 Comment

  1. Monica Kulling

    Just finished reading this gorgeous book, highlighting the wonders of winter. The illustrations are stunning, the prose is evocative. Skating Wild On An Inland Sea is a beautiful book.


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