Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Testing the ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson

Testing the ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson

Sharon Robinson
Illustrator:  Kadir Nelson 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 10
Scholastic Press, 2009   ISBN: 0545052513

It was 1955 and Jackie Robinson, the great baseball player, moved his family from Queens in New York to a house in Connecticut. Jackie’s children loved the house because it had land and a lake. All summer the children played and swam in the water with the neighbor children, but Jackie never got into the water. He shared his baseball story with the children, he cheered for them when they swam all the way across the lake, but he refused to get into the water.

In the winter the lake froze. Jackie’s children and the neighbor children were eager to go skating, but they could not venture out onto the ice unless someone checked it first. Reluctantly Jackie went outside with the children. Carefully he walked out onto the ice, testing it with a broom handle to make sure that it was frozen solid. It was only when she saw her father on the ice, all alone, that Sharon, Jackie’s daughter, felt afraid. Her big strong father could not swim. What if he fell through the ice?

Jackie Robinson’s daughter tells this story with pathos and love. Readers who know about Jackie Robinson and how he broke the color barrier in baseball will be delighted to learn that the great man was brave both on and off the baseball field. He broke the color barrier to help the cause of his people, and he ventured out onto a frozen lake to make sure that it was safe for a group of children.